Bill Clinton visited Deer Park, NY coin laundry to open a Read, Play & Learn Space

On December 10, 2019, President Bill Clinton, as part of a three-location visit to promote Clinton Foundation Programs, dropped by Laundro Lux, a local laundromat in Deer Park, NY. The owners, Ralph and Rosalie Macchio, delighted in welcoming the former President to their business. The Macchios recently added to their long-standing store a LaundryCares Family Read, Play & Learn Space to provide a learning environment for the children whose families frequent their establishment.

Laundro Lux Laundromat, a unique and rather large (5000+ square feet) vended laundry business, has gained praise and notoriety for its clean appearance, up-to-date machines, colorful mural featuring depictions of their grandchildren, and large chandelier. But, now this local laundromat seeks to establish itself as a place of learning. Ralph Macchio, the patriarch of the family, expressed his enthusiasm for this addition to his store’s operation stating that the children can benefit from an education while their parents spend their time washing their clothes.

Ralph and Rosalie own four laundry businesses, and they plan to include similar learning environments from Too Small to Fail and LaundryCares in the near future.

Presidential Visit

President Clinton arrived at the Laundro Lux located at 1921 Deer Park Ave B, Deer Park, NY 11729 during business hours, turning the heads of many patrons who were caught unaware of what was to happen. Mr. Clinton served as the special guest reader for the families present that day. Elated children were treated to the President reading “The Wonderful Things You Will Be”, which he enjoyed performing in the new large reading space which featured a comfy couch, sturdy school-grade furniture, and, of course, new books by Scholastic. You can read more about this event at Newsday.

This was the third visit this year by members of the Clinton family. Chelsea Clinton was at the inaugural presentation of a Family Read, Play & Learn Space in Chicago, IL in March 2019. Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea all dropped in for an impromptu visit to Wash World in New Orleans in October 2019 shortly after the installation and activation of another Family Read, Play & Learn Space during the summer.

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The Movement Is Catching On

Jane Park, Director of Too Small to Fail shared the vision of the Laundry Literacy Coalition (as partnership of organizations including Too Small to Fail and the LaundryCares Foundation) to install and activate 600 total Family Read Play & Learn Spaces across the country within a year. The commitment of three more reading areas being installed by the Macchios at their other locations has inspired more than 20 more laundromat owners to pledge to purchase and activate similar spaces at their locations on and around Long Island.

Alaa El Banna and his spouse Amie Seiss-El-Banna, owners of five Bubbles aRe Us laundromats, traveled from Elizabeth, NJ to help welcome the Macchio’s to the growing network of laundry literacy partners. The El Banna family hosted a large multi-store LaundryCares Free Laundry Day in October of 2018 where they too installed one of the first prototypes of the Family Read, Play, and Learn Spaces activated by Jane Park and the Too Small to Fail team.

Several CLA and LaundryCares volunteer leaders joined the celebration at Laundro Lux to personally thank the Macchios and to greet President Clinton.

Brian Wallace, President/CEO of the Coin Laundry Association, said to Ralph and Rosalie Macchio when making remarks to President Clinton and the other members of the gathering, “Ralph and Rosalie, thank you once again for your generosity and hospitality. Your Family Read Play Learn centers will reach hundreds of kids. But, your example will inspire your peers to help thousands of children on Long Island and well beyond.”

Special Thanks

The LaundryCares Foundation would like to especially thank the Macchio family for their ongoing commitment to the Coin Laundry Association, the LaundryCares Foundation, and the literacy efforts of the Laundry Literacy Coalition. Their generous donation of financial resources, time, and energy help to propel the mission to bring community outreach and early childhood education to neighborhoods from coast to coast.

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