Pope Francis is helping the homeless in a very real way. The Vatican has announced the opening of the Lavanderia di Papa Francesco or “Pope Francis Laundry,” which will provide free laundry service to those who can’t afford to pay.
An April 10th statement from the Papal Almoner’s Office stated that the new charity will be "offered to the poorest people, particularly the homeless, who will be able to wash, dry and iron their clothes and blankets."
The laundromat will open in an old hospital building located in the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome, and will be run by Community Sant’Egidio, who have already been doing charity work for the homeless for 10 years.
So far, Whirlpool and Procter & Gamble have stepped up to donate equipment to the charity, including washing machines, laundry detergent, and irons. While the facility is offering only laundry services for now, it's expected that it will expand to include a medical center, barbershop, and showers.
The aim is to "give a concrete form of charity and mercy to restore dignity to many people who are our brothers and sisters," said the Vatican in a statement.
2016 was the Jubilee Year of Mercy for the Catholic Church, and Pope Francis has been very vocal about encouraging people to "give concrete form to charity."
“The desire for closeness to Christ requires us to draw near to our brothers and sisters, for nothing is more pleasing to the Father than a true sign of mercy,” Pope Francis wrote. “By its very nature, mercy becomes visible and tangible in specific acts.”
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