Regular showers are not only an important part of personal hygiene, they can help prevent medical problems that homeless individuals and others might face.
Until recently, one of the only options available for homeless people in need of a shower was the shelters operated by Redemption House Ministries, but now another option is available — and it's mobile.
Redemption House was recently able to land a shower truck from an organization that was upgrading to a newer model. Executive Director Greg Sanders was contacted by Tom Stutheit with Shower Community Truck Organization.
"They purchased a new truck for themselves and wanted to give their older truck to an existing organization," Sanders recalls. "I was able to go visit with his board. They brought the shower truck over. We looked at it, and we were able to come to an agreement on how we could put it in place by giving them an understanding of how we would use it."
Sanders said Redemption House will work with different agencies in the Prineville and Madras area who have contacted the agency in the past with a need for shower facilities.
"The shower truck would probably go out at least once a week, maybe two or three times a week," Sanders said, "and we would go to these different agencies to provide showers for anyone who needs it in the community."
By filling the needs of other agencies throughout the community with the mobile shower service, the shelter showers are left free exclusively for the people who are staying in those facilities, Sanders added.
The shower truck is equipped with three shower stalls and a 500-gallon tank that holds clean water. That water is heated with a European-style water heater that Sanders said provides hot water instantly. The truck also has a 500-gallon tank for holding gray water until it can be dumped.
"The truck is pretty self-sufficient," Sanders remarked. "We have ways to plug it in for power, and we can run off of our generator if we need to."
Those who go without regular showers not only face hygiene issues, they could develop health problems that land them in the emergency room. So Sanders is hopeful that having this new mobile service in the community will limit the medical issues homeless people and other community members who lack shower capabilities face.
"If we are able to help people not go to the emergency room, that saves the community money as well," he added.
Redemption House Ministries is also seeking donations of clean underwear and socks so that people who utilize the shower truck can stay clean after using it.
Sanders noted that Redemption House is still in the beginning stages of putting the shower truck to use — they just got it a week and a half ago. But he and other organization leaders are grateful for the opportunity to provide such a service.
"It is a wonderful opportunity to help and take care of some of the needs that are in our homeless community," he said.
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