It’s been about five and half months since tornadoes tore through Sioux Falls. The damage was considerable, including to Pizza Ranch on 41st Street.
Co-owner Michael Pharis says that they think they’ll reopen in August. In the meantime, the owners were collaborating on Tuesday with a program called Laundry with Love at Sioux Falls Laundry.
You might not think of pizza as pairing well with laundry, but tonight they do. Twice a month, Church on the Street has its Laundry with Love program, where guests can do their laundry and get a meal for free. Michael Pharis, co-owner of the 41st Street Pizza Ranch, explains that the meal here tonight comes from the Pizza Ranch in Tea, but those serving it are the co-owners of the 41st Street location.
“Now that we have some free time with the store down, so we were able to donate some pizzas from the Tea Pizza Ranch and help feed everybody,” Pharis said.
Yvonne Oppold is a Church on the Street volunteer who hosts the Laundry with Love program.
“My job is the hostess, or the one who checks them in, so I eye their bags of laundry and to see what size machine they could use, and then do the math to figure out what would be three average loads,” Oppold said.
She calls the service “a work of love.”
“You get to know these people,” Oppold said. “You know that you’re providing them with something that they really need, and it’s the dignity of having clean clothes.”
That dignity has a chain reaction.
“They’re able to walk out of here and do whatever they need to during the day, feeling a little bit better about themselves, and then when they don’t have to spend the money trying to get their laundry done, then they have that amount of money that’s available to them for food or transportation or whatever it may be,” Oppold said.
A slice of kindness that goes a long way.
“It’s little things that a lot of people take for granted, like washing your clothes and stuff, it’s such a cool event to help the less-fortunate,” Pharis said.