“Wash, dry, repeat.” A fitting mantra for a team of Procter & Gamble employees and volunteers working tirelessly to wash thousands of loads of laundry for victims of the frequent natural disasters afflicting the United States over the last few years. What began as an effort in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the Tide brand’s “Loads of Hope” program has since traveled, fittingly, in a bright orange truck, to California after the wildfires, Iowa for flooding, and most recently, to Galveston, Texas after Hurricane Ike overwhelmed the city.
Although many of P&G’s uniquely brand-specific programs are widely marketed (Pampers’ “One Pack = One Vaccine,” “Crest Healthy Smiles,” Tampax/Always’ “Protecting Futures,” for example), Tide’s “Loads of Hope” seems to be quietly toiling away in regions affected by natural disasters to provide a small, but meaningful and overlooked service to those struggling to recover. Pressing global issues may be top of mind for many organizations today, but at the same time, nearly half of Americans still believe companies should prioritize support of issues that affect the quality of life locally. As economic conditions further unravel, the importance of in-kind programs that help heal local communities and engage employees in meaningful work will only continue to grow.