Bowie, Mohd. , Omolayo Adebayo always knew she wanted to give back. She just didn’t know how to do it.
In 2017, after having a dream, she came up with the idea to build a mobile shower unit, which was designed to give the homeless population a free chance to refresh.
After years of soliciting donations, she was able to purchase and roll out the unit in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC, last October.
(credit: Omolayo Adebayo)
“It came from a dream, from God,” the 32-year-old told Granthshala television stations on Monday.
Adebayo said in his 2017 dream, a man standing in front of a mobile shower unit and saying “thank you.”
“And that came around the time God was prompting me to start a nonprofit,” she continued. “So once I had that dream, it was determined… that’s what the nonprofit was for, this mobile shower.”
Adebayo said he didn’t know what happens in a mobile shower unit, so he looked it up on the Internet. After raising more than $50,000, her nonprofit, neighborhood well, a two-stall shower unit that also included a toilet.
Mobile shower unit. (credit: Omolayo Adebayo)
Adebayo said the plan is to offer free showers every second and fourth Saturday. Currently, customers must come to the First United Methodist Church in Hyattsville to use the shower. Adebayo says the church will host the unit for at least six months as part of a non-profit pilot program.
The unit also provides fresh underclothes, toiletries and refreshments.
So far four people have shown and used the shower. Adebayo expects numbers to rise but understands people’s reluctance.
“The type of service we are providing is something that is a vulnerable experience for anyone,” she said. “It’s something that our non-domestic neighbors normally have to feel comfortable doing.”
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Another challenge is transportation.
“We do our best to provide transportation through partnerships with churches when available,” she said.
Inside the mobile shower unit. (credit: Omolayo Adebayo)
Adebayo said bathing is considered a luxury among the homeless population.
“We all know what that refreshing feeling is like,” she continued. “But then for someone who doesn’t know where their next shower is coming from, or some people who can’t take a shower in weeks… it’s just a new sense of self.”
“It just opens your mind to everything else,” she said.
Similar services are being provided across the country as well. In Marin County, California, Downtown Streets Team There is also a mobile shower unit. Project Outpour Charlotte, North Carolina, also offers people a free chance to freshen up.
Adebayo hopes to inspire other people to find creative ways to help their communities. She hopes to expand her service to the DC area.
“Love others with an open heart and an open mind,” she said. “You never really know what people are going through. You never really know where people are coming from.”
This story was reported from Los Angeles.