Project Outpour: Mobile shower trailer to help homeless across Charlotte

Laureen Jenkins is willing to bet that you take your hot shower inside your home for granted. She sure did. That is, up until she had a conversation while working with the homeless.

Jenkins asked a gentleman when his last real shower was. His reply was two weeks. Her heart sank. On her way back to the office Jenkins recalls driving by a food truck.

“I remember thinking food trucks are a thing so why can’t we put showers on a truck and it be a thing,” she said.

What started as an idea blossomed into a full-fledged non-profit called Project Outpour. In 2018, Jenkins raised $47,000 with most all of that going to pay for a trailer modified with two bathrooms that include toilets, showers and sinks.

In January, the trailer arrived in Charlotte.

Nearly 2,000 people are living on the streets of Mecklenburg County. Without a home they don’t have regular access to a shower.

Jenkins’ desire is to restore dignity to the homeless and she plans to do it one shower at a time.

“I felt convicted. I thank God for these blessings, my friends, my job, my cat but I never stopped to say thank you Lord because I can shower in a safe, private setting whenever I want. My gratitude has significantly increased,” explained Jenkins.

The plan is to provide guests with 15 minutes and everything they need to shower including a towel, toiletries and even fresh under garments to put on afterwards.  They’ll also have a place to charge their cell phones.

Once on the road, Jenkins hopes to serve between 50 and 60 people a day. Her greatest need now is a truck to haul the trailer. She would love to find a used truck that someone might want to donate to the non-profit. She will continue to need donations of toiletry supplies and of course, volunteers and their time.

The trailer is equipped with a hot water heater. She hopes the warmth of the water will wash away some of their worries.

“I’ve realized how much feeling clean matters to us as human beings. There are emotional benefits as well as physical and it really matters,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins hopes to roll the trailer out mid-March. She is also in talks with other area communities that have similar needs.

To learn more about Project Outpour, click here