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Volunteers serve hot food and warm gifts to San Antonians in need as non-profit hopes to expand impact next year

Communities Under the Bridge hopes to break ground in early 2023 and open a free laundromat and barbershop for unhoused people in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO — The true meaning of Christmas could be felt at Communities Under the Bridge (CUB) on Sunday.

More than 200 people lined up at the downtown church for a warm meal and gift.

Each guest received a large bag of essential items, including socks, blankets, toiletries and nonperishable food. They also got a wrapped Christmas present.

“How would I want my mother or my father to be treated; that’s how we treat [people],” said Dianne Talbert, the executive director of CUB.

The spirit of giving goes beyond the holidays, though. 

CUB is expanding its footprint and programs in 2023.

“We have some super exciting things coming,” said Talbert. “Next door there are two little houses that are condemned. We are going to level those and make a laundromat.”

It will be the first of its kind for San Antonio.

Talbert says many people don’t have access to a laundry facility. While the service is available to those staying at shelters, hundreds of people are living on the streets. Clothing and blankets are often discarded when they become too soiled.

The laundromat will be free.

“It restores dignity,” Talbert said.

The new building, located on Chestnut Street near Hays Street, will also house a barbershop, showers and lockers.

“We don’t want to duplicate things that are already available,” said Talbert. “Our whole challenge is to fill the gaps. Laundry is a gap, the barbershop is a gap. People need a place to get a regular haircut and wash their things. If we can provide lockers where they can lock up their paperwork, then we help the city reduce its cost for ID recovery.”

CUB will break ground on the project early next year. Talbert hopes to have the laundromat up and running by the end of 2023.

“We can’t do it without the community,” said Talbert. “It takes a village.”

According to Talbert, about $400,000 needs to be raised to fund the new facility. To donate, click here.

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