Folding clothes with customers as she stands near drying tables at Finish Line Laundry, Deacon Trish Harris, with St. Thomas Episcopal Church, says she makes the types of connections she wouldn’t make otherwise.

“Women tell me about violent relationships they’ve been in. This seems to happen over a drying table and that’s when these things naturally come out,” Harris says of these and other conversations. “As a result of the pandemic, people are so lonely. There’s a growing number of older folks who live by themselves and don’t have people they can talk to.”

These opportunities to connect are an unexpected byproduct of the real reason for Harris’ presence at the laundromat at 10 North 20th Street.