Moving Forward: On the Road to Shower Day Celebrations

What does a hot shower mean to YOU? Sure, combined with essential personal hygiene items, it can provide one with the basic ability to get clean. But is that really all a hot shower delivers? And why, specifically, is it so important to regularly clean our bodies? Those of us who have a roof over our heads, those of us who shower daily, rarely think about such things. But, when one doesn’t have access to a hot shower, it quickly becomes apparent what is missing. A hot shower contributes to keeping our bodies hygienic, and therefore healthy, but it can play a part in soothing weary muscles and minds alike. A hot shower is capable of providing both a fresh beginning to one’s morning AND a comforting end to one’s day. Its magic has the power to invigorate a tired person just as well as relaxing an anxious one. Squeaky clean hair, a freshly washed face, and underarms that smell of newly applied antiperspirant … Most of us take for granted these beneficial results of our everyday routines. But such small touches are not, in fact, so small. Cleanliness helps a person to step forth, with a bit of confidence, into the unknown day ahead. Now, can you IMAGINE going without a hot shower for three days, a week, a month? … even longer?

It is with great excitement and gratitude that Streets of Paradise is announcing the purchase and acquisition of a Ford F-350! “What does this have to do with a hot shower?” you ask. As most of you are aware, an anonymous benefactor has gifted SoP with a new, two-stall shower trailer; it is being created to specs (one stall will be ADA compliant) at this very moment! A donation of this magnitude did come with an understandable stipulation attached, however. SoP was required to secure a vehicle capable of pulling said trailer. This condition was accepted and, then, donations that had been slated specifically for the much-anticipated mission were released to purchase the truck. We now have the two basic components necessary to deliver hot showers to those in need. Our dreams of hosting our very own weekly (at least) shower events, complete with haircuts (for those who desire them), personal hygiene items, clean clothing, and brunch, all wrapped up with love and laughter, are finally coming to fruition! We can hardly wait; for we know what these occasions look like. Streets of Paradise has collaborated with a shower truck charity in the past. We have seen the positive changes that inevitably result when a community comes together, and we already have the necessary experience to make the magic happen!

Owning our shower trailer and truck comes with a major bonus … autonomy over usage. So, Streets of Paradise will be able to regulate the number of shower events available to our street family, increasing frequency as needed. It isn’t difficult for us to imagine such a need. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, essential services that our homeless population usually rely upon have been dramatically cut. The consequences of these resource closures will, no doubt, reverberate throughout our beloved community for years to come. The basic needs of our most vulnerable people are not remotely being met; our fellow humans are now eating less, laundering clothing less, sleeping less, and certainly showering less. But just think, for a moment, how this dire situation could be considerably improved by the consistent presence of a team of dedicated volunteers (including hairdressers!) who show up when and where needed, with food, personal hygiene items, clean clothing, and a mobile shower unit equipped with laundry facilities! Tending to three out of four of the human needs deficits mentioned

above (as often as possible) would surely lead to a better night’s sleep … the fourth need. For, having one’s basic necessities met generally leads to less anxiety, which enables a person to relax enough to rest. Another feasible option for shower trailer use would be to accommodate members of our community who may not be homeless, but have become unable to shower at home, due to hurricanes or other sudden disasters. If any single unforeseen event in modern history has illustrated the necessity of practicing good hygiene habits, it is the calamity our entire nation is now facing; COVID-19 is spread from person to person, from person to surface to person. It is profoundly wise to provide our entire populace with access to basic hygiene systems, if for no other reason than, by doing so, we protect the wholly connected organism we refer to as “humankind”!

In addition to owning our shower trailer outright, our truck is also fully paid for. Through donations as little as five dollars and large contributions of thousands of dollars, our modest 501(c)(3) has done what so many presumed impossible. What an amazing achievement this is, and fortunate, indeed, because our pickup will be performing double duty! In addition to pulling the shower trailer, it will be utilized weekly to transfer furnishings to the recently re-homed. Streets of Paradise will now be able to add an extra team of movers to this vital program, filling more living spaces with essentials, faster! We are beyond thankful to and very humbled by those who have believed in us and supported us as we have worked our way to this beautiful moment in time. Our gratitude extends to Mike and Jamie Thayer who have jointly proposed a most generous matching grant of up to $20,000, in remembrance of Therese Thayer. It is imperative that we do our utmost to match this offer, dollar for dollar, since our added equipment has led to added expenses. We are currently $8,000 short of meeting the full match, but infinitely optimistic that our charitable donors will rise to the challenge, carrying us over this vitally important finish line! The funds we raise will be applied to the following expenses:

● Wraps for both truck and shower trailer

● Spray enamel coating for bed of Ford F-350 (needed so furnishings aren’t damaged during transport)

● Protective covering for shower trailer (a stipulation required by benefactor)

● Washer/dryer for shower trailer

● Generator for shower trailer

● Power washer to maintain sanitation between showers

● Insurance for shower trailer and truck

● Cost of shipping shower trailer (nearly $3,000!)

● Monthly rent for space to hold furnishings until they are transported to their new homes

● An enclosed trailer to be towed by truck – will maximize furniture capacity for move-ins

If you are inspired to make a charitable donation to help us reach our goal, we are capable of receiving these through either of the following methods:

PayPal or debit or credit card @ www.streetsofparadise.org

OR

Check made out to Streets of Paradise and mailed to: P.O. Box 50652 Sarasota, FL 34234

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