Riviera Beach non-profit Shower to the People will operate an 18-foot, four-stall trailer that provides hot showers, shaving supplies and clean clothes to those in need.
RIVIERA BEACH - A childhood friend lost to addiction spurred Timothy Murphy to create a non-profit serving the homeless.
Shower to the People, a Riviera Beach-based organization that does business as Dare 2 Care, provides showers, shaving supplies and clothing via an 18-foot, mobile shower trailer.
Murphy, the non-profit’s president, and vice president Kate Devine raised nearly $40,000 in five months to build the trailer, which includes four individual stalls containing a shower, toilet, mirror, sink and bench.
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It will be parked outside St. George’s Center at 21 W. 22nd St. in Riviera Beach beginning Sept. 26.
"Our mission is to restore some dignity and spread the love," Devine said.
Murphy, a Palm Beach Gardens resident and former chef who now owns a garage door company, founded Shower to the People in honor of a close friend, Tony Miller, who died last year at age 50.
Miller, who struggled with substance abuse and was occasionally homeless, often volunteered to help others despite his own challenging circumstances, Murphy said.
"In Tony’s honor, I decided I would like to emulate his kindness and selflessness," he said.
Murphy approached Devine, who is the director of religious education at St. Paul of the Cross Parish in North Palm Beach, with the idea to a create a shower trailer for the homeless.
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She agreed, and together they formed their non-profit and began soliciting donations.
"It was just energy," Murphy said. "We started raising money, and five months later, we had a $37,000 shower trailer sitting out front and ready to go."
Murphy and Devine drove to Topeka, Ind., this month to pick up the custom-made, 12,000-pound trailer and drive it home to Riviera Beach.
Once operational, it could serve as many as 50 people a day, Devine said.
Pre-registration is not required to use the shower. Guests can check in once they arrive, and they’ll be handed a bag containing a fresh change of clothes, new underwear and socks.
Once a stall is available, they’ll be given a second bag containing shower items including shampoo, soap, washcloth, towel and shaving materials.
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"It’s kind of a nice little haven," Murphy said. "You can come in, sit down and you get 10 minutes to refresh."
After each use, stalls are sprayed with a concentrated cleaning agent, Devine said.
The trailer will be available one day a week at the start. If there is a greater need, Devine and Murphy would open it more often.
"Eventually, it would be nice to have seven-day-a-week showers," Murphy said. "But that’s a large amount of resources."
Devine estimates it will cost about $1,000 a month to maintain the shower trailer, and there could be additional expenses including gasoline needed to tow it.
Volunteers also are needed to staff the trailer. Volunteer training will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at Shower to the People, 1033 Silver Beach Road, No. 68, Riviera Beach.
For information on Shower to the People or to donate, visit https://showerthepeople.us/ or call 561-574-9603.