A Greenville woman’s good deeds are going viral after being spotlighted in an episode of “Returning the Favor,” a Facebook web series hosted by Mike Rowe. Known best for hosting “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery Channel, he came to Greenville in February to film a spotlight on her free laundry service “For Frankie,” which benefits people in Greenville who don’t have access to washers and dryers, or lack the funds to pay for laundry. That episode, which aired Tuesday April 24, now has over 4 million views.
Since October of 2018, the group has been meeting at Coin Laundry in Greenville every Wednesday night. The organization, supported by donations and volunteers, offers free laundry services to anyone who shows up each week.
It’s having a profound impact on dozens who are struggling to make ends meet, one man explains. “I’m making a little above minimum wage. For me this is the difference between making sandwiches for supper and having a hot meal for supper after I’ve worked.” A single father says this has made it possible for him to go to work wearing clean clothes, and he tries to only bring what he needs. “I don’t want to bring too much,” he says. “I want to think about other people as well.”
The group was started by 21 year-old Adah Nix, who was inspired to start helping the homeless community after learning about her mother’s past. “When I was 17, I found out my mom was homeless when she was my age, she said. “She was kicked out and was unable to graduate high school because she was homeless. Right when I found out, I knew I wanted to be that person for somebody who didn’t have anyone else.”
While working at a thrift shop, she met a woman named Frankie, who mentioned it was cheaper to buy an outfit, wear it for a week and toss it than to do laundry. Adah asked if she could personally do her laundry so Frankie could keep her clothes and have more than one outfit. “I would wash her clothes and ever time i would bring it back to the store i’d leave a note that said ‘For Frankie’.”
Slowly, she started to clean Frankie’s friends’ clothes from her home, and eventually moved the group to Coin Laundry. After officially starting “For Frankie” as a service for others in the community, Adah began to dream of building a van to reach those who couldn’t make it to Coin Laundry. That’s what brought Mike Rowe to Greenville. He spotlighted the service in a Facebook web series “Returning the Favor,” which involves giving a surprise gift to good deed doers. “We shot from a Monday to a Friday,” Adah said. “I had an entourage follow me for a full week which was exciting”
Mike Rowe’s big surprise in the episode was a new van outfitted with washers and dryers to the service, so Adah could reach more people in the homeless community. It’s the first of its kind in the Southeast and a dream come true for Adah.
“I can go to tent city, have a laundry day for them…have a laundry day downtown,” she smiled.
Since that episode aired, it’s gotten millions of views and encouraged those watching to join the cause, like Joe Urban, Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Greenville County Schools. He and a small group arrived Wednesday night after the episode was uploaded with laundry detergent, coins and helping hands.
“We were moved beyond words and a bunch of us from our department said we have to help,” he said. “So we showed up with cash, detergent, food…We just need more people helping others for no reason whatsoever.”
For more information on “For Frankie” and how to help, visit the group’s Facebook page.