PRIOR LAKE, Minn. — Each Christmas, generous donors give approximately 5,000 “gently used” blankets to the local charitable organization called Bridging through the annual Bring a Blanket drive co-sponsored by Subway Restaurants.
Of those, hundreds are usually slightly soiled and in need of washing, so Bridging turns to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Laundry Facility. The soiled blankets are delivered in February and March to SMSC, which washes, dries and hand-folds them at no charge.
“It is part of our mission to provide quality, gently used furniture and household goods to those in need,” says David Jensen, operations and logistics manager at Bridging. “Our partnership with SMSC allows us to make this happen. By receiving SMSC’s donated laundering services, Bridging has been able to distribute thousands of clean blankets to families in need over the years.”
The SMSC and its Gaming Enterprise, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino, has worked with Bridging for years to provide linens, furniture and other items. Several times a year, Bridging drops off large loads of linens that the SMSC Laundry also washes for free.
Bridging’s mission is to provide families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness and poverty with a gift of quality furniture and household goods to stabilize and improve lives while effectively using community resources. Through a network of more than 125 social-service agencies, eligible clients are referred to Bridging to pick out needed furniture and household goods to transform their house into a home.
The SMSC Laundry, which has 51 full-time employees, processes 3.6 million pounds of goods each year for several SMSC enterprises, including its hotel, casino, Dakotah! Sport and Fitness, and more. It also launders 575,000 employee uniforms annually.