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When is the last time you gave much thought to your shower?

We don’t mean whether or not it needs to be cleaned or updated or why your wife has four different shampoos. We mean, when is the last time that you spent time thinking about the wonder that is your ability to take a safe, clean, hot shower whenever you want? If you’re anything like us, this isn’t something that takes up too much real estate in your brain. Unless you’re wrapping up a long backpacking trip or excursion, we typically give it next to no thought. You could go so far as to say we take our showers for granted. But imagine for a second that you didn’t have the on-demand option of a hot shower. Currently, it’s 37 degrees and raining in Huntsville, Alabama, and for the next month or so, the days will be cold and wet.  Just the thought of spending all day outside and having to take a cold shower makes us quiver.

This is the reality for 500+ people in Huntsville and 500,000+ people in America experiencing homelessness[1][2]. It is this reality that the folks at ShowerUp Huntsville are trying to remedy.

Founded in 2016 by couple Paul and Rhonda Schmitz, ShowerUp operates a mobile shower and personal care unit serving those experiencing homelessness in Huntsville. Each mobile unit has a comfortable, private shower suite equipped with a clean shower and a sink to provide hot water and personal cleaning care items.

Now it can be tempting to think, “That’s great, but don’t people who are experiencing homelessness have bigger things to worry about than a shower?” The obvious answer is “yes.” However, consider for a moment ShowerUp’s mission statement:

Our mission is to build relationships, restore hope and dignity, and show the love of God with those in need by providing them with shower services and personal care.

In their own words, “We aren’t here to make dirty people clean… we are here to give hopeless people HOPE!”  This isn’t about hot water. This is about giving people hope, dignity and showing them love. Showing them that they matter and that there are people in their corner. It’s giving someone who has been marginalized and largely dismissed by society the hope that there is someone who sees them and wants to help them.  Someone that won’t define them by their circumstance but will help lift them beyond their situation. This is more than just a shower.

ShowerUp’s mission of love and hope drew the eye of the Bridgeworth Community Fund of Hunstville and is why they were ultimately chosen as the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the fund. When asked what these funds could do for their organization, they responded that since they are 100% volunteer-run, this would support their operations for roughly 6 months. That’s equivalent to about 600 showers. But as mentioned above, it’s more than showers. That’s 600 opportunities to shower the less fortunate in our community with love, grace, and hope and to help them rise above their circumstances. These 600 opportunities are why the Bridgeworth Community Fund is proud to be doing its part to help support this wonderful organization.

If you’d like to learn more about ShowerUp Huntsville and its mission, volunteer opportunities, or ways to donate, you can visit their website.

If you’d like to learn more about homelessness in North Alabama and how you can help, visit the website of the North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless.

[1] https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-report-legacy/#:~:text=There%20are%20an%20estimated%20553%2C742,people%20in%20the%20general%20population

[2] http://www.nachcares.org/images/docs/AL503PIT2020.pdf

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Bridgeworth is now a part of Savant Wealth Management as of 11/30/2023. Savant Wealth Management (“Savant”) is an SEC registered investment adviser headquartered in Rockford, Illinois.