A ‘Family Holiday’ in Long Branch

Back in 2013, Rainbow Laundry’s Nok Kim decided to buy a Christmas tree, get some trinkets for the many children who regularly visit his laundromat and hold a little party.
Since that small beginning, Kim’s celebration at Rainbow Laundry has grown. This year (Thursday, Dec. 21) it blossomed into something remarkable both in scope and involvement of local businesses. “Even nine months ago, I couldn’t have imagined something like this,” said John Angel of el Gavilan.
Area restaurants donated sweet and savory snacks. El Golfo brought a hearty entree. El Gavilan brought pupusas. Two local bakeries—both La Pasion and the Panaderia El Arbol de Pan—brought cookies and other holiday snacks.
Carlos Perozo, president of the Business League (and owner of nearby ZP Tax), agreed to serve as this year’s Santa. But when it turned out Carlos was too tall for the costume, John Angel, the Business League’s VP, stepped in to play the part.
What is more, the Long Branch Business League hired carolers who, dressed in seasonal red costumes, sang carols throughout the evening. As the children in attendance lost their shyness, they gradually cozied up to the carolers and sang along.
Rainbow Laundry’s Mr. Kim was in constant motion: serving food, bringing supplies where needed, and, to conclude the two hours of festivities, joined Santa (Angel) to hand out gifts. The fidget spinners were a huge hit.
The forty-five or so children in attendance (not counting parents) were kept creatively engaged throughout the party with a crafts activity organized by Viktoria Shalaginova, director of Voices-DC, — the same local Washington, D.C. non-profit that, for almost a year now, has generously volunteered a weekly arts studio at Rainbow Laundry (Thursdays at 6 p.m.).
“This was like a family holiday party — so warm and friendly, I almost forgot I was in a laundromat,” concluded Art Cobb, Secretary of the Business League. “Mr. Kim has created a wonderful community asset.”