Linens N Love
Mobile app-driven implementation for global sustainability by donating and repurposing cast-off hotel linens to shelters in need
Linens N Love unites over 500+ leaders to lead and participate in donation events in which student leaders partner with local hotels and receive linens donations all across the US!
15+ supporters & partnerships with Disney, Allstate Foundation, Choice Hotels International, Marriott, & City National Bank to support our mission & environmental impact!
As we're working with mentors specializing in tech (app development) and non-profit management, we're constantly learning and growing. We've received feedback from volunteers regarding the streamlined process of our app, Linens N Love Connect, and they love the process and simplicity of the app! Many volunteers from across the US have been excited to participate in Linens N Love over the past few years and are looking forward to the launch of the app.
Our mobile app, launching in December 2020, will consist of a simple three-step process that allows volunteers to feel encouraged to volunteer. As a simple two minute process, hotels can submit their linens donations availability and inventory directly in the app. Then, volunteers locally in the area would be able to select the nearby hotel to coordinate the donation pickup. Finally, nonprofits would register their information on the app as a one time process, indicating what linens they need.
After our prototype completion, our Linens N Love Tech Team of high school youth leaders & volunteers has been working on designing and coding our mobile app using STEM to ensure the sustainability of Linens N Love on a global scale.
Sample image of the web app version of Linens N Love Connect, our app that will connect volunteers, shelters & nonprofits, and hotel donors to donate linens efficiently and effectively with streamlined communication and immediate updates.
As our team continues to advocate for volunteerism and environmental protection, we're using the power of STEM to develop our mobile app, Linens N Love Connect. During our donation events, we connect with the shelter recipients as we hear their stories and journey, allowing our student leaders to broaden their horizons and become inspired to ignite change.
Linens N Love student leaders pictured here donating 1,000 gently-used linens to a local homeless shelter and then embarking on a tour of the shelter to learn more about the communities that they're serving.
Team bonding and teen leadership are extremely valuable in Linens N Love! After our shelter facility tours of the organizations, we engage in team bonding activities and reflection sessions so that student leaders can reflect on their volunteering experience.
Linens N Love video recap after the Summer Kickoff Delivery to donate 1,000 linens to Mercy House Bridges at Kraemer Place.
Introductory video: why Linens N Love!
Linens N Love group photo of a few of our members of the Southern California Chapter after donating linens to a local homeless shelter.
Learn about Linens N Love in under 3 minutes, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to repurposing gently-used, high-quality hotel linens and donating them to animal shelters, homeless shelters, teen orphanages, women's homes, and veteran's homes around the world.
Globally, Linens N Love has donated 18,000+ linens to date. Our student leaders reach out to local hotels that have to-be-discarded linens as they explain the mission of Linens N Love to the hotel and explain how the linens will be put to use.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 17 million tons of textiles end up in landfills each year. Instead of letting these usable linens go straight to landfills, Linens N Love repurposes these to-be-discarded linens so local shelters can use them.
Eligibility: Please confirm you meet all the following criteria
You are aged between 14 - 18 as of August 1, 2020
You live in the United States or its territories
You are not employed by, or directly related (grand parents, parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
You have been working on this project for at least three months
You consent to us possibly featuring your work on social media
You confirm you have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form
Eligibility: Date of Birth
November 8, 2002
What gender do you identify with?
Help us stay in touch!
Phone: (714) 514-1768
21520 Yorba Linda Blvd, Suite G 228
Yorba Linda, California, 92887
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Points of Light: https://www.pointsoflight.org/awards/california-teen-reuses-hotel-linens-to-give-back/
The Awesome Foundation: https://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/projects/136411-linens-n-love
Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
In the US, there are over 50,000 hotels housing 1.1 billion guests daily using linens excessively. Alarmingly, this linens wastage of discarding 17,000,000 tons of textiles yearly is overlooked due to a lack of awareness of this common industry practice of discarding linens. As landfills accumulate waste, carbon dioxide & methane are detrimental waste-products (greenhouse gases) & groundwater pollution with toxins contributing to global warming.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Linens N Love envisions a world of zero textile waste, with reduced landfills globally. It’s imperative that we stop this wastage of high-quality linens immediately & that we repurpose these linens to shelters. In 2014, I founded Linens N Love (LNL), a 501(c)3 nonprofit donating castoff hotel linens to shelters including animal shelters, homeless shelters, & teen orphanages. Many high-end franchise hotels frequently discard their linens due to slight imperfections, whether it be a guest that leaves a coffee stain or a faint pen mark. Instead of sending these linens to landfills, LNL rescues & donates them to shelters. To combat excessive textile pollution & waste, we’re increasing involvement via our virtual platforms, including our LNL Virtual Volunteering Program and our mobile app. As we're looking towards our future during COVID-19 to volunteer from home, we're using STEM to catalyze change & develop our mobile app called "Linens N Love Connect", a simple, free application for volunteers globally to use. Using LNL Connect, our virtual volunteers can lead their projects from home and deliver their project (such as gathering their old linens from home) to their local shelters!
3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.
4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
Growing up with parents in the hotel industry, my sister & I used to spend hours playing in the hotel breakfast room, waiting for our parents’ workday at the hotel to end. We’d make massive pillow forts and play hide & go seek and were thoroughly entertained with a few chairs and many linens. As we grew older, we realized that these linens that we were playing with were directly from the hotel. With minor imperfections like small stains, linens were put in storage to send to landfills since the hotel franchise standards deemed them unpresentable. My sister & I knew that these linens were completely usable and it was hard for us to notice what was wrong with many of the linens, especially when they did their job of providing warmth & comfort to us when we made our pillow forts. We initiated LNL as two sisters to repurpose hotel linens & save them from accumulating in the landfills.
5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”
As we're looking towards our future, we've been working behind the scenes to design and release "Linens N Love Connect", our mobile app coded by our Linens N Love Tech Team to connect volunteers. Linens N Love is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was co-founded in 2014 by Vivian & May Wang dedicated to donating castoff hotel linens to homeless shelters, women's homes, and animal shelters in need. To date, we've repurposed over 18,000 linens that were originally going to landfills.
6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.
Over the past 5 years, Linens N Love has been rescuing 18,000+ linens internationally from landfills. 1) November 2014: Start of Linens N Love! 2) 2016 - Current: Mentorship with tech professionals and nonprofit activists; teach us about their experiences with using tech to connect youths & inspire future activists. 3) 2019: Spoke in front of total of 10,000+ youth leaders at WE Day California & Celebration of WE to inspire youths; share about LNL. 4) 2020: Virtual Volunteering Program; global!
7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Linens N Love bridges volunteering with environmental awareness & educational experiences, rescuing thousands of linens from landfills while transporting & donating them shelters. It's important that our leaders see first-hand their impact by embarking on tours of shelters we visit to gain an in-depth understanding of the communities we serve. Volunteering is more than just dropping off donations; it's understanding the cause & the impact that our actions have on our communities. Our app has educational information about each shelter to strengthen empathetic & altruistic service learning.
8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?
500+ members since 2014; 10,000+ shelter residents served; 18,000 linens donated to date; 100,000 linens as our mission; 15+ supporters and partnerships with Disney, Allstate Foundation, Choice Hotels International, Marriott, & City National Bank, to support our environmental impact; Approaching our 6th year as a nonprofit established in 2014; Countries (& states) with Linens N Love volunteers or countries that we have donated to: USA, Canada, India, Indonesia, Mexico & China; Over 20 states in the USA that we have donated to or have active Linens N Love volunteers: Arizona, California, Denver, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, & more; 5 school & community-based chapters across the US: 3 in CA, 1 in MO, 1 in TX -- each has 30+ members; Social media growth: 500% growth on Instagram within 3 weeks
9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
As we continue our social impact during COVID-19, we're expanding our LNL Virtual Volunteering Program. We're taking LNL to the next level with our virtual program to reach 1,000+ members via social media. Our program consists of Research Bloggers, Project Leaders, Ambassadors, & our Tech Team. Each team focuses on 1 aspect of online activism, whether it be our Research Bloggers writing articles for our online magazine to highlight the impact of landfills on global warming or our Tech Team that’s using this time right now to work on research & development for our app. By Dec. 2020, we'll grow our organization by 2000% with projected 5,000 volunteers using LNL Connect! We’re also partnering with Choice Hotels Owners Council for LNL Connect.
10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.
With the launch of our Virtual Volunteering Program, I'm working with our Research Blogging team on articles that explain ways to recycle, along with interviewing shelters on how they’re overcoming COVID-19, how they're still serving their residents, & how volunteers can still help out. LNL Virtual Project Leaders lead their initiative at home under LNL mentorship, with current projects including making homemade masks, coding our LNL Connect app, & hosting a linens donation drop-off drive.
11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?
Organizations interested in mentoring us to tackle the issue of landfill accumulation that leads to carbon emissions and toxins can provide mentors familiar with app development; they can join us in online mentorship sessions to guide LNL to create the most efficient app possible with app development experts who can help us with coding errors. We’re also looking towards adding partner organizations’ items to our app, including turning hotel convention food wastage into food redistribution.
12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?
We've tested out our Virtual Program to test its scalability as we target altruistically-minded individuals. LNL fuses volunteerism, environmental sustainability, STEM, & service-based learning into 1 cohesive, long-term initiative as we're rapidly expanding since 2014 with our sustainable model & our upcoming app for all to use. LNL offers customized online volunteer opportunities for volunteers’ passions: creating impact via online journalism, developing our app, & leading at-home initiatives.
13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
Donations between $1k-$5k
1) Linens N Love Mentor and Executive Director - Andrea Richard: email@example.com; (951) 268-4390
2) Homeless shelter mentor partnered with Linens N Love - Haley Cooper: firstname.lastname@example.org; (714) 993-5774
3) Parent - Alice Hsu: email@example.com; (714) 322-1888
Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
How did you hear about this challenge?
Recommended by others
Ashoka page or contact
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or General Motors, who was it?
Points of Light, one of the world's largest community service organizations that engage over 5 million volunteers from around the world, introduced me to the Challenge. Since receiving a Points of Light Award, I’ve connected with inspirational youth leaders and we mentor one another. With this Changemakers grant, I’m excited to launch our app and increase our number of volunteers by 2000% with the power of STEM, the Ashoka team, the General Motors team, and the support from Points of Light.