How a local Facebook group proves there is Life After Laundry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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How a local Facebook group proves there is Life After Laundry

Melanie Fulks-Kraus (right) helps Lily Bennett make bath bombs at a Life After Laundry Ladies Club fundraising event.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Meghan Bennett
September 27, 2019 - 11:30 AM

KELOWNA - The Life After Laundry Ladies Club may have a catchy name and a focus on fun activities for women but they’re deadly serious about making life better for those around them.

“People come together to have fun and do some good for their community,” Melanie Fulks-Kraus, the founder of the Facebook group, told iNFOnews.

She officially launched the site in 2013 after spending a lot of time doing volunteer work in the community and not enough time with her family.

“I wasn’t home a lot,” she said. “I realized I was out there making a difference in the larger community but how can I be more with my children? I want my kids to grow up knowing mom did a lot but also that they did a lot.”

Now her children are 12 and 14 and actively involved in the many events their mother helps put on.

Right now, the group is working on a Sweet Seniors effort where some women are sewing toques and gift bags are being assembled for seniors who still live in the community but don’t get out much.

That community mostly means Lake Country, which is where Fulks-Kraus lives and which she supports as much as possible but its 882 members are “from all over.” After all, you just have to hit like on the Facebook page to join.

Melanie Fulks-Kraus (left) with her relative Jennifer Fulks who inspired Life After Laundry Ladies Club to put on Live the Dash cancer fundraisers after Jenn died of the disease in 2017.
Melanie Fulks-Kraus (left) with her relative Jennifer Fulks who inspired Life After Laundry Ladies Club to put on Live the Dash cancer fundraisers after Jenn died of the disease in 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Judy Fulks

The effort that’s closest to her heart – she chokes up just talking about it and the impact it has – is the Christmas Recovery Gift Bags project. It's in its third year of delivering 28 gift bags to Bridge Youth and Family Services.

“It’s for youth and adults that choose to be in recovery programs and are in there over Christmas,” Fulks-Kraus said.

The large gift bags include hoodies, toiletries, Christmas treats and more.

“Last year there was a kid who was about 18 years old. He got very emotional and said ‘this is everything I own,’” she said.

She now has 18 "angels" working on bags and is looking for more volunteers.

Bath bombs can be special ordered online.
Bath bombs can be special ordered online.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Melanie Fulks-Kraus

Other activities included a Live Your Dash event in 2017 that raised funds in honour of a family member who had recently died of cancer. A second edition will be held next year.

That, along with smaller events – such as painting or bath bomb-making nights – have always sold out.

Life after Laundry also has an account at the Lake Country bottle depot so people can donate there to provide grocery cards for local families.

While the focus is on fun, they have raised more than $5,000 and donated to organizations like the Lake Country Food Bank and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Fulks-Kraus stress that Life After Laundry is a non-registered, non-profit community group and not an official charity.

A lot of what they do is to give small gifts to women in the community who just need a bit of a boost and cheering up. Those gifts often include tickets to their events.

“I’m probably the most shocked at how good it feels to be giving something,” Fulks-Kraus said. “Those people we give to and help, they’re are helping us as well.”

While Fulks-Kraus is the very busy and very upbeat face of the Life After Laundry Ladies Club, events now include her children and many friends helping out.

“It goes to show that something might start with one person but it’s quickly grown to hundreds of people,” she said. “I’m nothing without my community and my family support.”

Oh, and what’s with the catchy name?

She and friends were bouncing ideas around for a name until she came to the realization that “there are other things in life that are much more important than laundry and household chores.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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