Showering Love, a mobile shower charity in South Florida, has captivated a large portion of my heart. I have been blessed beyond words to be able to join the team. While I often find myself thinking of new ideas, outings, and statistics, I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to come watch the amazing Grace in action. However, on Saturday, July 21st, I finally witnessed the most amazing celebration of love.
We lead a life full of adventures, opportunities and, most of all, adversity. Each day is a new chance for growth. Every day faces the possibility of having your world flipped around. How we choose to handle these events are what makes us ourselves.
The Mobile Showers Begin
My morning started like every other morning. I wake up, fix my hair, brush my teeth, change out of pajamas, and head out the door. The weather is perfect and my drive to the event is a piece of cake. I arrive at First United Methodist Church in Fort Lauderdale, and what I finally see takes my breath away. Grace, the bus herself, is quite the beauty. She’s unique. Grace is handicap accessible, comes fully loaded with bathrooms, toiletries, and inspiring quotes.
A new shirt, undergarment, and pair of socks are readily available for all that receive a mobile shower. If you’re not yet starting to feel butterflies and a sense of compassion, hold tight, dear friends.
The set up is relatively swift and easy. Some of the coolest people from Vertical Church in Weston, FL, put up tents, tables, food, a sound system, and then some. It’s not quite 9:00 a.m., but believe me when I tell you the energy was full force. The registration tent is finally set-up; the first two shower candidates, Ricky and Kim, arrive. I’m trying my best to paint a picture for those of you who haven’t participated in a Showering Love event. What I can’t seem to find the words for, however, are the looks of heaviness and exhaustion that each individual experiencing homelessness wore on their face when they first arrived.
My task for the day was simple: take surveys and make each individual smile at least once.
Kim and Ricky, the first two individuals to receive a mobile shower, are both skilled chefs. They each had very successful catering companies and jobs under their wings. As the conversations carried, they informed me that they have been without permanent housing for a few months now, and their dog, Blessings, was rescued not too long before things began to go downhill for them. Kim and Ricky take their showers, and it’s like magic happened before my very eyes. Kim stands bright eyed and gleaming in the doorway of Grace, runs her fingers through her newly washed hair, and is practically a completely different person.
A Mobile Shower Gives Hope
This is where my heart found a hope that I didn’t even know I was lagging. This couple couldn’t possibly have run out of hugs, and I came to discover that this new happiness clothed each and every person on the other side of their mobile shower.
More people arrive, the music is bopping, and my surveys continue. I came across people my age (in their 20s), quite a few individuals between the ages of 35 and 47, and only a few 50-64 year olds. I want you to keep in mind that these surveys weren’t taken by all. The reasons for homelessness range anywhere from an unexpected lay-off to lock-outs or family tragedies, but the faces were all the same. Each person carried a sadness, a lack of self worth, and a shyness from their time spent on the streets. The only thought ringing in the back of my mind is how easily we all can get off track and what a shame it is that we’re all human, yet are so harsh on each other when it comes to making mistakes. Life is precious.
I met pastors, teachers, cooks, students, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers – you get the idea – and not a single person wasted a moment to remind me, a spoiled young lady, that I am loved, valued, and have a bright future ahead of me. Let me reiterate this. Every single individual experiencing life on the streets stopped me to remind me that everything works out eventually and my life has purpose. If I told you my throat was on fire from choking back tears, it would still be an understatement.
As the morning progressed, some of us kicked off our Sunday shoes for a little while to the music. I headed to the nearby encampment around 11 that morning with some other volunteers.
When Debbie told me (trust me that the amount of tents and people had significantly decreased, I was bewildered. People, there were still probably over 50 individuals living within the small area outside of the library. How can we let our own live in conditions such as these? The volunteers, Debbie, and myself chatted with some of the individuals and then invited them to join our party in the church parking lot before heading back over. I got my camera out, took a few pictures, and said my goodbyes before driving to work that afternoon.
More than a Mobile Shower
I realize I am totally guilty of going a little farther in depth than necessary. If we’re being honest, I would go the extra mile just to explain how swept away I was by the events of last weekend. When you give a human being a mobile shower, some soap, new clothes, and love, you open up a world of hope. When you give someone a shower, you cleanse them of their yesterday.
Receiving a shower reminds people that they are loved and valued, even if it’s just by the slightest little inch. This compassionate charity has helped people get back on their feet towards a life of which we all are worthy.
The next time you see a Showering Love vent or a shared post of a past turnout, I encourage you to join this community of love. We all have the power to make the world a better place. Start local. Start global. Regardless of your beginning, I can assure you that I, among many others, will be more than happy to help you help others. Smile big, love hard, and believe in yourself.