East Oakland school celebrates receiving washer, dryer: 'It's huge for these children'

At Encompass Academy, an elementary school in the heart of East Oakland, students and teachers held a celebration on Friday. After a three-year push, the school got something it desperately needed: a washer and dryer.

It may sound strange to celebrate laundry appliances, but there's nothing strange about it there.

"This little washer dryer may be small, but it is huge for these children,” said Ken Houston of the non-profit The Beautification Council in Oakland.

This school says almost all the students are low income. Some sleep in homeless shelters and many come to class with clothes that smell. Sometimes other kids bully them because of it.

"It hurts my heart. And it hurts me so much I can't sleep at night," said Dana Turner, the school's attendance officer.

She says one student's clothes were so soiled, she took off on her lunch hour and bought the student new clothes out of her own pocket.

"If a parent comes to me and says they are struggling and can't afford clothes I’ll do it again," Turner said. 

The Oakland Beautification Council raised the necessary $13,000 from the Oakland Coliseum Community Fund to build a laundry room.

How it works is every Friday volunteers will wash a week's worth of clothes for every child who is signed up. Then the student's will have clothes that are fresh and clean for the following week. 

"This will bring up self-esteem. This will bring up morale," said Houston.

This school is not the only one in Oakland that needs laundry services. The Beautification Council is looking at getting washers and dryers for them, too.