Loras student Rodrigo Espino (’21) organized a fundraiser to support Almost Home in Dubuque and raised over $600 to help provide laundry services to the local homeless population.
As part of his Career Options class, Espino chose to volunteer at Almost Home, a homeless shelter in Dubuque. His duties included handling intakes and making sure the men coming in had what they needed while there and weren’t breaking the zero-tolerance policy.
It was Almost Home’s Open Closet, a service that provides clothing items to men, women and children of all ages on a first-come, first-served basis completely free of charge, that caught Espino’s attention.
“The people coming to Almost Home said they didn’t have a place to do laundry, so they would just throw away clothes because they had no way of washing them,” Espino said. “That made me want to do something to change it.”
Espino worked with Almost Home to come up with options to improve the service.
“We talked through different ideas. Being on the board of Loras’ League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), I brought it up to them to see if they wanted to get involved. During the process, we came up with the idea of Eloteria Night – a combination of loteria, which is Mexican bingo, and elotes, which is Mexican-style corn,” he explained.
Hosted on the Loras campus, attendees could purchase bingo cards and elotes at the event with all money raised earmarked for Almost Home.
Espino was pleasantly surprised as the results of the night. “In addition to everyone who attended, there were people who donated money even though they couldn’t attend. I thought we would raise around $200, so when I saw the final total of $608, it was amazing.”
Utilizing the money raised, Almost Home will be collaborating with another organization to help individuals launder their clothing.
One aspect of the event that stood out to Espino was the strong support from the Loras community.
“There were a lot of faculty and students there, so it was amazing to see the support from across the campus,” he said. “It was great to have so much support from everyone at Loras.”