Porcupine Opportunities Program celebrates new laundry service

PORCUPINE PLAIN — The Porcupine Opportunities Program (POP) has begun offering a fluff and fold service in Porcupine Plain at their laundromat, employing local intellectually disabled workers.

Marilyn Jonas, general manager with POP, said this provides the disabled community members a chance for inclusion in the community.

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“It just provides an opportunity for our folks to come down here and be working – a lot of exposure to the public and learning how to just work in that kind of atmosphere,” Jonas said.

For this service, customers can drop off their laundry and for an added fee the team will wash and fold all the clothes. The customer can leave and return when the clothes are ready.

“They drop it off in the morning and come back in the afternoon and pick it up,” Jonas said.

The laundromat itself has been run by POP for the past 20 years.

“We were looking for ways we could add to the service we already have here and that seemed to be a local service.”

The program had a soft opening during the first week of June.

Angela Gerbais, onsite manager, said that so far people “love” the new service.

“People love convenience, right? We’re in a convenience world now,” Gerbais said. 

The grand opening was held on Oct. 8, and had speeches from several dignitaries including the mayor.

Along with the opening of the new service, a connected consignment store was opened with products made by local artists and crafters in the community.

“We wanted to provide employment opportunities for our folks and we know that a lot of people in the area are very talented and have a lot of hidden treasures,” Gerbais said. “We thought it would give an opportunity to feature that and display it.”

Between the laundromat and consignment store, eight local intellectually disabled workers are being employed through POP. They are each paid minimum wage.

“We try to really match the jobs with the individual and also the time frame they might be doing the job,” Jonas said.

An example of this is someone with a low attention span will be given a job that can accommodate that.

The laundromat and consignment store is located at 222 McAllister Avenue.

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