Kathryn Casale, of Glen Cove, N.Y., organized a group of volunteers to wash the laundry of superstorm Sandy victims who are without working washers and dryers. / WCBS
LONG BEACH, N.Y. For New York residents trying to replace washers and dryers damaged by superstorm Sandy, one of the obstacles of returning to normalcy is a lack of clean clothes. And a waiting list for appliances is making that normalcy an even more distant reality.
But CBS Station WCBS reports Sandy victims are now getting help in an unusual way: Dirty laundry from flood-ravaged Long Beach homes is getting washed and dried and returned with a hug.
Kathryn Casale, a Glen Cove, N.Y., working mother of four who hails originally from Long Beach, is helping storm victims one load of laundry at a time.
"My husband said, 'There you go, but you're not going to save the world one dirty sock at a time.' But in essence, that's kind of what we're doing," Casale told WCBS correspondent Carolyn Gusoff.
Casale and others formed a Facebook group called Take A Load Off. Volunteers and donated laundry detergent have poured in ever since its creation.
"I can surely do laundry all day long if need be and a lot of people have actually said to me 'Wow. I could do that!" said volunteer Maggie Tanchuk.
"What a horrible thing to be without clean clothes. It's such a simple, little thing we take for granted," added volunteer Leslie Dwyer.
Even local laundromats got in on the action, donating machines for the worst of what Sandy could soil.
Now, 50 volunteers wash, dry, pick up and deliver laundry from Long Island's North Shore to its South Shore.
Katrina Freydin, whose washer and dryer were under water, is among those especially grateful.
"They really help to normalize our lives, because what do you do without laundry?" Freydin said.
And as if the volunteers don't have enough dirty laundry, they still have their own families to worry about. "As my husband has said, 'Where are my socks?'" Casale remarked. "And I said, 'Just get in line, buddy.'"