This is the tower of clean towels and washcloths that waits inside the Mobile Shower Unit and made available to the homeless men and women of Lancaster County. When I first saw it, I wondered when some of these men and women last smelled and felt the softness of freshly laundered linens.
What is our image of those living in conditions most of us would find uncomfortable? Whiskers that grow from five o’clock shadow to scruff in a day or two? Hair that’s matted or dirty from sleeping in the woods? What may be more difficult to imagine is the level of humility and trust mustered in order to approach the van for a refreshing shower.
And just like in our own homes, personal hygiene care doesn’t end when the water is shut off.
There is a supply of new toothbrushes and toothpaste, shavers and shaving cream, and other toiletries – items the men and women may take home. There are eyeglass repair kits. And Kevin offers a haircut to anyone who wants one. But it my be limited to a military cut because that’s what he knows how to give!
And finally, there’s the clean clothing for clean bodies. Coats and knitted or crocheted hats are available to those who need them. There is a cubby of jeans and t-shirts. Kevin offers to take dirty clothes home to wash and return, or he has a tub of laundry detergent he doles out to those who prefer to wash their own.
Looks can be deceiving for this plain white van, but so too for the men and women who enter, then exit.
If you live in the Lancaster area, there will be an Hour of Prayer at noon at Lancaster Historic Courthouse, 101 N. Main St. , Lancaster.
To contact Kevin firstname.lastname@example.org he’s always accepting donations for the Mobile Shower Unit