The founder of Laundry & More is Abby Vesga, who comes with many years of life experiences. Not only does she understand homelessness, as she herself has been in that position four times; but she also understands the needs, feelings and fears of many others in the community.
Abby has a long history of sexual, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse that has plagued her for years. She is a recovering alcoholic, drug dealer, rape victim, and understands those feelings of being less, or thoughts of not mattering to those around. She has gone hungry. She understands the violence moms in the community have to deal with as she, too, has had to bury family members due to suicide, violence and murder.
She brings with her first-hand knowledge of being told “no” by those that were designed to help, because she didn’t qualify for services due to age or not having dependents. “There are a lot of cracks that people like me fall into, and that has to change,” she says. So when Laundry & More was in its planning stages, the first thing she stated was that no one would be told “no.” The only condition to be helped with laundry at Laundry & More is residency in Lawrence.
Abby (and the others who help lead this ministry) believes that every person that comes to the laundromat on Tuesdays is worth knowing, worth loving and worth spending time with. And by bringing with her a past of shared experiences and absence of judgment, she allows others to see that they aren’t alone in their feelings or life experiences.