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Labor of Love

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Philanthropist Ebonie Trice and her team of laundry angels are spreading hope in Austin’s homeless communities.

By Lauren Jones, Photo by Ty Photography

In Austin, thousands of people are living without clean clothes, food and shelter. Ebonie Trice, CEO of Mission Accomplished and a lifelong philanthropist, has made it her personal mission to help the community in every way she can.

Trice founded the nonprofit in 2014 after years of opening up her home as a private shelter, and has since provided a multitude of services for men, women and children in need.

“I’m just all about helping,” Trice says, “no matter what the capacity is.”

On every second and fourth Saturday of the month, Trice and a group of volunteers head to North Austin’s homeless camps to wash, dry and fold laundry.

“I have a washer and dryer at home and wash as often as I like, and the homeless don’t have that,” Trice says. “We don’t realize what a luxury that is.”

Before reaching the camps, many things must fall into place. Every other Friday, Trice speaks with a local minister who works regularly with the homeless to find out how many people need her services that week and where they will be. As the cost of living in Austin has risen and more people are moving to the city than ever before, keeping track of each of Trice’s customers can be difficult.

“People are selling their homes, renting them out and moving,” Trice says. “It’s like a domino effect, so when it comes to the homeless, we know that they are being scattered out. It may be their home today, but in two weeks, it won’t be.”

Once Trice’s drivers reach the camps, the clothes head to the laundromat, where volunteers work in teams, sorting, putting together care packages and assembling fresh laundry for delivery.

Although Trice’s enthusiasm when it comes to doing her own laundry hasn’t changed since starting Mission Accomplished’s Operation Clean Clothes in September 2015, she is fulfilled by her ability to help those around her.

In addition to providing laundry services for the homeless, Mission Accomplished has developed partnerships with local organizations, such as Black Women in Business, Reaching Out Supporting Every Sister, Cici’s Pizza in South Austin and Habitat for Humanity, to help offer a more holistic approach to uplifting Austin’s homeless.

This year, Trice and her team gave away 200 Thanksgiving baskets and went to Front Steps shelter to prepare a meal the night before Thanksgiving. At Christmastime, Trice will visit the Austin Transitional Center, a residential treatment center and halfway house in Del Valle, Texas, for caroling.

Mission Accomplished also works with local youth and recently hosted its first talent show for those looking to get into the entertainment industry. The winner received a $500 cash prize, time in the studio, a mentor and a photography portfolio.

While the nonprofit got its start washing and drying laundry for Austin’s homeless population, it has quickly taken on a life of its own, with Trice and her unwavering spirit of volunteerism at the lead.

So, what lies ahead for Trice and Mission Accomplished? She hopes to have a brick-and-mortar, fully functioning resource center—a “one-stop shop for helping”—where Austin’s homeless will be able to take computer classes, fill out job applications and prepare for job interviews.

Trice says she believes there will always be a homeless population in this city, but she stays hopeful for the future and is looking forward to growing her organization, one load of laundry at a time.

 

To learn more about Mission Accomplished, visit mission-accomplished.org.

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