Coin supply problems impact Laundry & More

Posted at 8:55 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 23:22:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Business owners all across the country, including here in central Indiana, are asking customers to use exact change when paying with cash.

The Federal Reserve said the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a disruption in the supply chain and circulation patterns of coins. It's an issue that is not just impacting businesses but also a group that helps families in need.

"With the situation the way it is I don't know — I don't know what's going to happen," Abby Vesga, founder and director of Laundry & More, said.

At a time when having clean clothes is critical during the pandemic, Laundry & More had to cancel its Tuesday laundry day two weeks in a row after receiving only one roll of quarters from the bank.

"We spend $400 a week on average. $10 is only 7.5 loads," Vesga said. "That's not even close to what we're doing when you figure we are doing five loads per family."

Along with volunteers and members of Servants of Christ Lutheran Church, the group did 12,000 loads of laundry in 2019 and assisted around 2,000 families at the Post Road laundromat.

"You see people walking out with clean clothes but I've seen people with hope back in their eyes," Vesga said.

It's not just about laundry. They also connect families with housing, medical and dental resources.

"We've walked with a number of people who we met and they were living in their car, who didn't have a job," Wade Apel, pastor of Servants of Christ Lutheran Church, said. "And who through a community working together they found hope again. They found a job, they moved out of the car and into a safer place for them to live."

Laundry & More will be back next week after a call out on Facebook was able to get some quarters donated and exchanged the rest with a local vending company. Vesga said what the group has will only last about three weeks.

"I really did not know that COVID was going to affect our organization because people need laundry," Vesga said.

In an effort to help with the coin supply problem, the U.S. Mint is putting out a call to action for people to start spending their coins, depositing them or exchanging them at financial institutions.

LEARN MORE | U.S. Mint statement on circulating coins

As the economy recovers and businesses reopen, the Federal Reserve said more coins will flow back into retail and banking channels which should allow for the rebuilding of coin inventories.

The U.S. Mint is operating back at full production after temporarily reducing the number of employees during the pandemic and is minting almost 1.6 billion coins a month.