“Showers to the Homeless” is a Missouri-based non-profit campaign which seeks to help individuals down on their luck feel “like a million bucks.”
Here’s a solution to help homeless individuals feel like a million bucks: install mobile showers in a box truck and offer free services to those who need to wash up.
The concept was designed by Missouri Pastor Jake Austin and exists to help the homeless feel better as well as live healthier lives.
“Clean people are happier, healthier, and more hopeful. When you step out of the shower, you feel like a million bucks.”
The compassionate pastor has worked with the homeless for almost his entire life. Even as a kid, he helped out at soup kitchens because his parents ran one. The importance of showers, however, was made clear to him just over a year ago.
As the video above relays, Austin was handing out hygiene supplies to the homeless when a homeless man thanked him for a bar of soap, then asked where he could use it. It dawned on the pastor that even with food and clean clothes, a person who hadn’t had a bath in months couldn’t easily secure a job and a fresh start.
He decided then to create “Shower to the People,” a non-profit program that provides hot showers to people living on the streets of St. Louis.
It took $5,000 and a lot of hard work, but Austin did it by starting small and creating partnerships with local businesses. He began by finding a used truck and outfitting its interior with shower stalls, sinks, and privacy curtains for dressing. He then added additional rows of sinks outside so that people can wash their faces and brush their teeth.
Local businesses inspired by Austin’s plight helped make the vision a reality by donating services. A local pipe fitters union, for example, installed the truck’s plumbing and a linen service has volunteered to launder towels free of charge.
When the “Shower to the People” truck rolls out later this year, it will connect to fire hydrants across the city and use a generator to run an electric water heater for showers. Good News Network relays that it is the pastor’s ambition to send the truck to different locations around St. Louis each day. He figures that if it can be parked in one spot for eight hours, around 60 people can shower each day.
While the non-profit is unique, it is not the only organization providing showers to the homeless. Lava Mae in San Francisco, California, is retrofitting old city buses for the same purpose, and a Floridian man has built a mobile shower unit in a trailer for the homeless. Nonetheless, it is heartening to learn that individuals of all backgrounds are taking action to help those who are down on their luck feel “like a million bucks.”
“If we can get people regularly clean, we can give them some hope,” Austin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Get some hope in their bones, they can take the next steps. They can keep climbing.”
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