PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Shameka Hope was sorting and soaking laundry when she realized laundry was a service she could provide that many people in the community would use. She started her own business, “Meek Laundress,” and continues to create a better life for herself and her family.

“”I definitely wanted to do it for my children, and let them know just because you stop something, doesn’t mean you stop right there. You know, you pick it up, and you keep going.”

Hope is a mother of six, and said her wash and fold laundry service has done more than financially provide for her children.

“They want to be entrepreneurs and they want to start their own businesses,” she said.

Roughly ten years ago, Hope decided to start studying for the General Educational Development (GED) test. She enrolled in the Moonlight Coalition through the Peoria Park District, an adult GED program that allows community members to earn their GEDs for free.

“She was diligent to finish her GED, and she was a mother of 5 at the time,” said Hedy Elliott-Gardner, Director of Adult Literacy for the Moonlight Coalition.

Elliott-Gardner is one of Hope’s clients, and spoke to WMBD as Hope delivered her clean laundry.

“I’m excited to be one of her clients and I’ll tell you what, she does fabulous work,” Elliott-Gardner said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to support one of my former students who is now a business owner.”

Hope said the Moonlight Coalition prepared her to start her own business. She was hired to work at the Moonlight Coalition gift shop at the Peoria International Airport, and was eventually promoted to assistant manager. T.

“I didn’t know it back then, but it was definitely setting me up to be a boss,” she said.

Hope said she wants to open a storefront for Meek Laundress one day.

To contact Meek Laundress, call (309) 868-8027 or visit the website.