ShowerUp is an organization designed to build relationships, restore hope and dignity, and share love with those who need it the most by providing showers and personal care. We serve those experiencing homelessness utilizing mobile shower units, volunteer teams and shower supplies. We have 2 mobile shower units that have 3 shower suites each. We provide towels, toiletry items, privacy, and a comfortable situation for people to experience. Because we are mobile, we can go to locations when people are already at such as tent communities and locations where meals are being served to the homeless. ShowerUp is also a terrific on-ramp for people to serve and volunteer! We have a variety of opportunities for everyone especially if they have never done anything like this before. Right now we serve in 2 locations every week in Nashville, monthly in Murfreesboro, and a team will be starting in Clarksville.
What lead you to start Shower Up?
We have been working with and serving the homeless for nearly 10 years. Throughout that time, we realized that the most important thing we can offer is relationship. There’s a cultural disconnect that happens with those on the margins of society so we were looking for a way to bridge that gap. We have seen the most impact in someone’s life happen when we really get to know them and understand their needs. About 2 years ago, we heard about a mobile shower vehicle and started to explore ways to see how we could do something like that and serve the homeless in Nashville. We started researching available services and talking with our friends who are homeless and those who work with them and serve them. We discovered that, in Nashville, if you are experiencing homelessness, there are less than a dozen showers available to you throughout the week…not a dozen locations…less than 12 actual showers! Plus, most of the places offering showers had limited hours and were in stationary locations. About that same time, new research came out identifying Nashville as the worst city in America for chronic homelessness. 2 out of 5 of our homeless population (40%) are considered chronically (long term) homeless due to a variety of circumstances including mental health issues, health issues, addiction, etc. That study also showed that our homeless numbers had risen nearly 10% over the previous study. Today in Nashville there are anywhere between 5,000-10,000 homeless men, women and children (most of the organizations that serve the homeless put that number at nearly 20,000).
We believe that we are not in the business of making dirty people clean, but rather giving hopeless people hope.
What is your mission?
Our mission is to first and foremost, build relationships with those we serve. It’s through those relationships that real life change takes place. We believe that providing a hot shower and personal care is a meaningful way to start a relationship. Through that relationship, we are then able to understand someone’s story, see areas that need help, provide encouragement, offer hope, and celebrate success. It comes down to this: ShowerGrace – build a relationship on dignity, mutual respect, care, and an understanding that everyone’s journey isn’t the same….ShowerHope – a hot shower and personal care communicates optimism, possibilities, and forward thinking…ShowerLove – we believe that God’s love is best communicated when it’s actively being displayed and when we hand someone a towel, clean a shower, or provide personal care for them, we know they feel genuine love being poured out on them.
What is your vision for the future?
We just added our 2nd mobile shower unit for Nashville and later this summer we will be announcing ShowerUp’s expansion into a new city that, similar to Nashville, has between 5,000-10,000 homeless. Our vision is to work with local teams to bring ShowerUp to their communities and strengthen our outreach here in Nashville so that we have ShowerUp available 7 days a week at various locations around the city.
How can people help and contribute to this great cause?
We are a 501c3 charitable non-profit and we are sustained because of the donations and generosity of individuals and families. Volunteers are the core of how we are able to operate and we love to have people join us even if they have no experience.. People can volunteer, donate, or give toiletry items to help our cause. All the info is on our website: www.showerup.org.
This organization is ran by:
Paul Schmitz – Executive Director
Rhonda Schmitz – Vice President
and Volunteers like you!