Jalen walked up to the white trailer on Governor’s Drive because he recognized the ShowerUp logo on the side.
“I used to be homeless on the streets in Nashville,” he told the volunteers. “I recognized you guys from up there. I will never forget y’all. Oh man … those showers were so great, something I’ll never forget. Thank you!”⠀⠀⠀
He’s no longer homeless, but he wanted to stop by to thank those who are helping Huntsvillians stay clean and healthy. ShowerUp recently built a mobile bathing unit for the Huntsville Community of Hope so volunteers could provide weekly showers to the homeless community.
As if getting sweaty in Alabama summers wasn’t bad enough, now there’s a pandemic to deal with. For those who don’t have access to daily showers, the combination of heat and germs can be overwhelming.
The Sunday Showers program allows roughly 20 homeless people to bathe each week. Volunteers also provide food, clothes, hygiene kits and shoes to the visitors.
“ShowerUp will be there for as long as they need, and we pray that it Showers Grace, Hope, and Love along the way,” one Facebook post read.
While their partnership with ShowerUp might be the most visible project thanks to the large trailer driving around town, the nonprofit is working behind the scenes to take care of other issues plaguing the homeless community.
Community of Hope was initially established to build a “residential community for our chronically homeless neighbors and empowering our surrounding community into a lifestyle of love and service.”
Ideally, Community of Hope aims to recreate a sustainable homeless community like the one volunteers saw in Austin, Texas, while researching ways to help the population.
“We have spent years building relationships and walking alongside our local homeless community,” according to the Community of Hope website. “Together, we have witnessed both the successes and failures of our homeless friends as they seek permanent shelter and take critical steps to improve their lives. Through this shared experience, we have learned it will take a community approach to make a real difference.”
If you’re interested in volunteering with Community of Hope, check out their website.