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Washing Machines At School Lead To Better Attendance

Whirlpool surveyed teachers across the country and found 1 in 5 students struggle with access to clean clothes.

By Samantha Crook | August 13, 2016

"People don't talk about not having clean clothes because it makes you want to cry or go home or run away or something," a student said in a Whirlpool Corp. video.

Whirlpool is trying to make the connection between clean clothes and school attendance with its Care Counts program. The company recently announced students who were able to get their clothes cleaned at school had improved attendence.

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The company surveyed teachers across the country and found 1 in 5 students struggle with access to clean clothes.

"We have a washer and dryer at home; it's just that our electricity was shut off," another student said in the Whirlpool video.

The pilot program worked by identifying kids whose school experience might have been hindered by a lack of clean clothes. Whirlpool installed washer and dryer sets in participating schools and provided cleaning supplies.

KPIX reports a middle school teacher in Fairfield, California helped inspire the idea. Before the program was implemented in her school, the teacher used to wash students' clothes at her own home.

The teacher told Today: "Many of our students are transient. Some are homeless, or they might stay with family members, but they don't have a stable home or money or resources."

The company lets each district decide how to run the program. In Fairfield, KPIX reports teachers take turns cleaning clothes that students drop off.

The program is currently in 17 schools in Fairfield and St. Louis, and the company does have plans to expand the program.

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