Maggie Leach with Operation Share the Load


Zandra Spiker

At the age of nine, Maggie Leach’s family lived in an extended stay without a washer or dryer while their house was built. They had to use a laundromat for six weeks and met many families that were less fortunate than theirs.  These families would sometimes have to choose between food or clean clothes.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that clothing and not being able to wash your clothes keeps a lot of kids out of school because it is a hidden poverty issue, and a lot of kids get bullied for it. I wanted to do something about it,” said Leach.
Nine-year-old Leach decided she wanted to do something to help the families she had met, and with the help of her mother, founded Operation Share the Load in 2012.

“I started a small collection of laundry supplies and a few rolls of quarters,” said Leach. “And that year I went back to the laundromat and gave everyone some laundry supplies and a couple rolls of quarters.”

When Maggie Leach moved to Pella in middle school, she believed that Operation Share the Load would end. Despite fear that her nonprofit would not survive the move, her program has found many new partners since moving to Pella.

“This year, I worked with the Well, and they handed it out at their food pantry,” said Leach. “That was super nice knowing that I could work with a group of people with the same goal I have to give charity where it’s due.”

When Operation Share the Load launches this fall, you can find the link to the GoFundMe and any updates on her Facebook page as well as her Instagram.