When the coronavirus stuck Acadiana, the people behind Hampr, an app-based wash-and-fold laundry service that started earlier this year, waived membership fees for its laundry app and gave away free hampers to Lafayette General Health employees.

Laurel Hess, founder and president of Hampr, said the one-year memberships were a way to “lighten the load” for medical providers working during the coronavirus pandemic.

Now it’s taking a step further, with Lafayette General Foundation’s help.

The foundation is raising money to pay for loads of laundry for Lafayette General's 6,000 workers, including full-time employees and contractors. This is a way for the company to give back by assisting the doctors, nurses, commissary workers, janitors and other support staff that make the hospital system work across Acadiana.

Launched late last year, Hampr allows users to have their laundry picked up, washed, folded and returned to them by local "washrs," a group of stay-at-home parents, retirees or others who are interested in earning additional income.

It cannot do scrubs or hospital gear but, at $10 a load, can “provide relief on the home front” for workers’ and their families’ clothing, Hess said.

Nurses make up about a third of Lafayette General’s full-time workforce, system spokeswoman Patricia Parks Thompson told The Current. Many were displaced during the pandemic, as elective surgeries were shut down by state orders. That doesn’t mean they weren’t working. Surgical nurses volunteered at the system’s outer affiliate hospitals, helping them stand up extra ICU units where necessary, like in Acadia Parish, one of the first hospital systems to surge. Things are slowly getting back to normal, Thompson says, and the system views the Hampr program as a way not just to thank its workers but to offer perks in a way that’s beneficial for another local business.