Philly Rising: At laundromats, nonprofit connects single moms to resources

Events with nonprofit SistaTalk in Philadelphia
Photo credit Courtesy of Adam McNeil
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Nonprofit SistaTalk has become a connector for single mothers in Philadelphia during the pandemic after founder Adam McNeil devised a way to help meet several needs through one essential service: laundry.

“I just started going around to laundromats. My pitch was, ‘hey, let me rent your laundromat out for the day, I’m just trying to wash everybody’s clothes for free.’ I know that we’re going through this pandemic, and not everyone has access to washers and dryers. Not everybody is receiving unemployment,” he said. 

“I’m not just washing their clothes. A lot of these mothers are pressed against the wall. A lot of these mothers are dealing with trauma that has never been addressed,” he said. 

The nonprofit, which was formed in 2018, is based on a pillar of supporting Black and minority women through healing trauma, promoting awareness and offering resources to overall help empower communities.

McNeil, who has overcome his own life challenges — including rebuilding his life after time in prison and a serious car accident — was moved to action after considering his mother’s role in his life.

“I understand that Black women are the cornerstones of our society. SistaTalk was about redefining sisterhood,” he explained. 

Aside from renting out laundromat spaces, he also uses community wash days to connect women to resources, vendors, and other useful services.

TODAY WE BLESSED SOME MOMS IN WEST PHILLY - WITH NOT JUST FREE LAUNDRY BUT WITH RESOURCES FROM @philly.bebashi @sankofahealingstudio @phillydefenders @dbhids @cbsd_phl @forgetmeknot_ and than WE BLESSED THEM WITH CRIBS, CHANGING TABLES ,STROLLERS , CAR SEATS AND MORE.. . EACH QUEEN IN THIS PICTURE HAS A STORY THAT WILL HUMBLE YOU.. TODAY WE #TREATEDTRAUMA IN #westphilly

A post shared by Redefining Sisterhood (@sistatalkphl) on Aug 21, 2020 at 7:20pm PDT

“It’s a strategic way to hug families from a distance, we can’t hug them now because of COVID, but we can hug them from a distance and provide them with daily essentials that a mother can use: diapers, toilet paper, toiletries, hygiene products.”

The events are also catered by local businesses, which helps give them exposure while families in attendance get a free meal.  

“We’re showing you some love, we got some soul in that food, some love in that food. It’s just a healthy day of healing. We have phenomenal women that come out and volunteer, we have phenomenal organizations that come out and support and sponsor us,” he added. 

McNeil also drives across the state of Pennsylvania, picking up diapers, gently used cribs, strollers, and other essentials items to give away on wash days. 

“The purpose is to show these mothers that we care,” he added. 

The events have become so successful that McNeil hopes to be able to raise enough money to host a wash day every week, and eventually, extend it to surrounding counties. 

He said the organization is always accepting donations of products, volunteer time, and anything else that can help.

“We do need volunteers as the events get bigger. We also need local caterers. Whether it’s volunteering, sending a love donation, being a community sponsor, I want this to be something we can do not every two weeks, but every week,” he said. 

Anybody can support his mission to help single moms by contacting him on Instagram.

We are selling hope. This is all love, this is all from the heart,” he said.