School may be out for students in the Copperas Cove Independent School District, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out in the community working to make things better for others.

More than a dozen student and adult volunteers gathered at Wells Laundry Mat in Copperas Cove for the 4th annual Laundry Day Friday.

Jr. Miss Five Hills Hayley Sawyer explained why everyone was inside doing laundry on a sunny day in June.

“We’re picking up clothes and we’re washing them, drying them and sorting them by size,” the 8-year-old said. “About 4 p.m., Communities in Schools’ representatives will come and (get) the stuff they need to put in their pantries for (students) in need. Then we’ll give the rest to the Optimist Club for their store.

“We have hats, we have a raincoat,” Hayley said, describing the items being washed, “We have long sleeve shirts.”

This year’s Laundry Day is part of Hayley’s service project during her reign as Jr. Miss Five Hills. The overall project is aimed toward helping the homeless.

CCISD Communications Director Wendy Sledd said members of the Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty were each assigned a school and went to pick up the laundry left in lost in found. The total amount of laundry collected from the 10 schools was about 2,000 pounds.

Zachary Petty started the Laundry Day tradition in 2014 while looking for a project to do as a member of Five Hills royalty.

“We were at the school my mom works at and that I used to go to, Mae Stevens, and there were just all these clothes in the lost and found,” Zachary said. “And we decided to ask the principal if we could take the clothes and give to people who need it.”

Zachary, 12, said the project expanded to all the schools in Copperas Cove and collected about 800 pounds of clothing that first year.

Even though it’s no longer his project, he still comes back to help out each year.

Shelley Wells of Wells Laundry Mat said she was very happy to be part of Laundry Day again. Zachary originally approached her husband, Kenny Wells, about using the laundry to wash the clothes and they continue to provide the machines to the students each year.

“It makes me very proud of these kids,” Wells said as she stood watching the students load and unload washing machines and dryers. “They care about this community and they are already starting to give back (to it) at a very early age.”

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