shower washing station

Green Acres Baptist Church will bring its mobile shower/washing unit to the Beckham Avenue overpass on Saturday so it can used by the homeless. (Courtesy)

Green Acres Baptist Church on Saturday will park its mobile shower/washing unit under the Beckham Avenue overpass so it can be used by those who are homeless.

The church uses the unit on mission trips, in response to natural disasters and to help people who might not have easy access to facilities where they can clean themselves and their clothes.

The unit has six individual shower stalls — three for men and three for women — and three washers and dryers, said Buddy Hill, a congregation member who helped build it. 

It also is equipped with a generator in case electricity is not available. 

Hill said he was inspired to build the mobile unit after attending a training session of Texas Baptist Men, a volunteer organization that helps churches and ministries with building projects. 

Hill saw a mobile shower trailer on display at the training and talked to representatives of Texas Baptist Men about the unit. He then approached his home congregation, Green Acres Baptist Church, about building one to be used as part of its ongoing efforts to help people in need.

"We talked about (doing) it and prayed about it," Hill said. "And then we were talking about how to do it."

Hill, who had worked for years as a construction manager at Tyler Pipe, came up with a plan to build it.

The church purchased a trailer from Wells Cargo. Hill and David Haney, a congregation member and electrician, began customizing the interior. 

"We were like two peas in a pod," Hill said of their work on the project. 

Hill said when Hurricane Katrina devastated the southern Louisiana region in 2008, Green Acres set up the trailer at San Antonio and made it available to those who had fled the area and taken shelter in the city.

"All they had was the clothes on their back," Hill said. 

The church helped people buy new clothes and let them take showers and clean their clothes. 

"It made them feel a whole lot better," Hill said. 

Now the church is planning to make the unit accessible and free of use to those who are homeless in Tyler. 

Hill said sending the shower/washer mobile unit to the location could be a become a regular occurrence.

  

Danny Mogle has covered news in East Texas for decades. He currently focuses on arts, entertainment and human interest stories and serves as the editor of Lifestyles Magazine.

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