About Us

Who We Are

It's more than bringing showers, soap, and hygiene product to the people. It's about restoring basic human dignity and fostering hope. It's about taking the time to love someone. It's about being renewed and feeling like a person again.

Shower To The People: Introduction

Why Dignity?

When dignity is lost, along with it goes internal beliefs in self-worth, ability, and a chance for a better future.

In order to build a healthy life, one must maintain a sense of dignity. Similarly, basic hygiene is the foundation on which one builds a healthy body.

Without proper hygiene, bacteria and decay will cause major health problems. Shower To The People seeks to play a role that has gone largely forgotten, providing those furthest on the fringes of society a reason to believe in their worth, and a means to reconnect with the rest of the world.

Just One of Many

Late on a muggy Thursday evening near the end of August, the Shower To The People team was on a corner on the north side of St. Louis, packing up the truck to go home. Having run the truck for the last several hours, in that Midwest summer heat, we were all elated to be finishing up. Then, a woman came stumbling around the corner and into the light in a huff. She appeared to have run multiple blocks to get to us, and quickly asked if she was too late to get a shower.

Without hesitation, Jake replied, "Of course you can still get a shower".

He showed her into the truck and got the supplies she needed as she told him that she had a rare skin disease (we never found out exactly what) and that it had been at least two months since she had showered.

She continued, saying that when she showers, a lot of the sores caused by her illness will leave blood and skin behind in the shower and that we'd have to be careful when cleaning once she was done.

Jake thanked her for letting him know, and assured her it wouldn't be a problem.

Normally, we try to cap an inidividual shower at around eight minutes so as to get everyone who needs one through in a reasonable amount of time. But, since it was the end of the evening and everyone else had already left and no one would be following her, we let her go on a little longer. After 20 minutes, Jake decided to ask her to wrap things up so we could go home, and when he stuck his head in the truck he was taken aback at what he heard. This woman, busy washing for the first time in two months, literally shedding her skin in the process, was singing. Without backtrack or prompting, she repeated in truly ethereal fashion, the chorus:

"Jesus, Jesus,
Can I tell you how I feel?
You have given me your spirit,
I love you so, I love you so"

Whatever your religious context, whatever your philosophical bend, whatever your viewpoint on mythology and theism, in the context of this woman's life that evening something magical took place... The catharsis she found in that moment, under the hot running water must have constituted a baptism, where the old, dirty, and decaying were washed away and replaced with something (if only for a moment) that was bright and new and full of hope.

She stayed in the shower, singing and washing for nearly an hour. None of us had the heart to interrupt her. And when she came out she said thank you and strolled back into the shadows down the street. The problems of homelessness weren't solved that night, not for the masses, not even for her. No new revelations came to us. No one's lives were forever changed... but for a moment, dignity was restored, hope was fostered, and a woman was empowered to go face her world with a little more humanity.

This is our story, not of changing the world, or winning a war, but of giving back small bits of humanity to those who have lost it.

Our Partners