One school in St. Louis discovered that washing machines help boost school attendance when they are available for students to make sure their clothes are clean.
At Gibson Elementary, the former principal Dr. Melody Gunn could not figure out why student attendance was low. All students received free or reduced lunches, and transportation was facilitated by the school. So she spoke with parents, and discovered that many families do not have access to washing machines.
In some homes there was a washing machine, but students couldn’t always use it because the electricity had been shut off or they could not afford detergent after paying for food and rent. When students didnt have clean clothes, they sometimes were too embarrassed to attend school. Eighth grade student Logan said “I think people don’t talk about not having clean clothes because it makes you want to cry or go home or run away or something. It doesn’t feel good.”
After Gunn reached out for help, the Whirlpool company donated a washer and dryer to the school. Gunn invited students who had missed more than 10 days of school to come in and wash their clothes at school. Whirlpool gave washers and dryers to 16 more school districts through a new program.