Ninth grader Jillian Taylor created “Laundry Angels” to provide clean towels for homeless individuals who use the shower at the Oak Harbor pool for her Girl Scout Silver Award project. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Local Girl Scout starts towel program for homeless

Thanks to the efforts of a local student, as of Thursday those using shower passes from SPIN Café at the Oak Harbor pool will also have access to clean, dry towels.

A lack of towels for drying off was a persistent problem faced by the homeless who were receiving the passes.

Ninth grader Jillian Taylor learned about the problem after talking to Vivian Rogers Decker, founder and president of SPIN Café. That discussion inspired Taylor to start “Laundry Angels” for her Girl Scout Silver Award Project.

“I can’t imagine just not having a shower to come home to,” said Taylor.

The Silver Award Project, which is the highest award a Girl Scout cadet can earn, must be sustainable, measurable and address the root cause of a problem.

Starting in July, Taylor started recruiting volunteers to pick up towels from the pool once a week, wash and dry them and return them. Members of Oak Harbor Lutheran church provided the towels and laundry volunteers were found through Facebook and word of mouth.

Taylor has asked the volunteers to track how many towels they were washing to have an idea of the number of people being served by this project. Volunteers sign up for a laundry schedule using a website called signup.com

Taylor said the greatest challenge was picking among all of the possible ways the issue could be addressed to find the best one.

“There are so many possibilities for how we could do things,” she said.

It was difficult for her to pull the ideas “out of my thought clouds into reality,” she said.

Overall, she has learned there are more difficulties associated with homelessness than she had considered before and she appreciated the time she’s spent on the project.

“I’m really glad I’ve been able to work on this project with all of the great people that are working on it with me.”