The ability to shower and put on clean clothes is something that many of us take for granted. Many people that walk through the doors of The Olympia Union Gospel Mission (OUGM) consider a warm shower and clean clothing a luxury. OUGM is a place where anyone can enjoy a shower and the satisfaction of putting on clean clothes. “A shower and clean clothing are a simple yet impactful blessing,” says Mindy Crump, Olympia Union Gospel Mission Director of Resource Development.

large walk-in shower at Olympia Union Gospel Mission
People can sign up for a free shower at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission on weekdays. All hygiene supplies are on-hand. Photo courtesy: Olympia Union Gospel Mission

Warm Showers Restore Dignity in Olympia

“We want people to feel valued,” emphasizes Mindy. “That is important to us.” A shower can bolster your mood to face the day. Clean clothes help them to prepare for their day, whether it be applying for jobs, volunteering or simply showing up for a meal feeling refreshed and clean.

These basic services make a difference in the health of those served at OUGM. People who are clean are less likely to end up with infections and unwanted trips to the doctor’s office. “Water is therapeutic,” says Karen Robbins, Director of Community Relations for OUGM. She sees that people live in chronic pain, and understands how helpful showers are to ease the pain.

Over the past 12 months, OUGM provided over 4,374 showers to those in need. OUGM’s two shower rooms are open five days a week. The downtown facility has a daily sign-up sheet for the allotted time slots (see below). Showers are equipped with soap, shampoo, razors, other personal hygiene items and towels.

“Oh yeah, I feel like an actual person again!” says Russell, a gentleman in his 70s who stays in the shelter. “We have guests who live at the mission and work at local businesses,” says Mindy. Being able to take a shower is crucial.

Laundry Services for All in need

Karen Schaeffer doing no-cost laundry for the Olympia Union Gospel Mission
Olympia Union Gospel Mission’s no-cost laundry is a greatly appreciated service. Karen Schaeffer keeps up with loads of loads! Photo courtesy: Olympia Union Gospel Mission

Where do you wash your laundry when you are without a home or lacking the money to make a trip to the laundromat? OUGM can wash and dry your clothes for you. Karen Schaeffer has been managing laundry services for the past three years. There’s a steady stream of incoming bags of clothes. “It’s the helping the people I like,” she says. The first part of each day is spent washing all of the shelter blankets. Then the machines are used for people’s personal items. “Having clean clothes for work is the best. It gives me one less thing to worry about,” says Kendra a Mom of two. Hours for laundry coincide with shower hours. Clothes are returned in clean bags the same day. “There’s nothing quite like the smell of clean laundry. It makes me feel ready for the day,” says another guest.

Olympia Clothing Bank – Free to All

clothes hanging along the wall at Olympia Union Gospel Mission clothing bank
Olympia Union Gospel Mission’s free clothing bank is a valuable resource for those in need. People may select a limited number of items. Photo courtesy: Olympia Union Gospel Mission

Joseph’s Coat is another important service provided by OUGM. Clean clothes in good condition are displayed like in a store. People primarily shop for clothes and shoes, but there are also hygiene supplies and other donated items. Each person can take an allotted number of clothing items each day and is able to visit once per day during open hours (see below) The clothing bank donated over 35,000 items to people in our community over the past year due to the generous support of community members who bring their new and gently used items on a daily basis.

You Can Help Olympia Union Gospel Mission

The showers, laundry services and Joseph’s Coat are run by the OUGM at no cost to those who receive services. Everyone is welcome and there are no barriers to entry.

All sizes of shampoo, conditioner and hygiene products are welcomed and appreciated.

Joseph’s Coat is Olympia Union Gospel Mission’s no-cost clothing bank. Donations of clean, new and lightly used items are accepted. Photo courtesy: Olympia Union Gospel Mission

As for items that often fly off the shelves; “We really need men’s pants,” says Karen. “Sizes 32 to 36 are the most sought-after, but we will take others.” Women’s pants are needed, as well. With the weather cooling, jackets, coats, and hoodies are popular. Tennis shoes and boots are always accepted.

New socks, underwear (cotton, preferably), sports bras and camisoles are also coveted. Please make sure your donations are clean and new or gently used.

Showers and clean clothes provide dignity. These are simple but powerful services. They don’t solve every problem, but they are pieces along the path to better living, improving quality of life, health, and self-esteem. Learn more about all the services including meals, recovery, dental and vision care and so much more at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission website.

Monday 12 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Tuesday – Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Laundry Services:
Tuesday-Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 4:30p.m.

Joseph’s Coat:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1:30pm-3:30pm

Olympia Union Gospel Mission
413 Franklin St. NE, Olympia


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