Every week, John Sabo drives across town and parks next to a big white bus. He packs bags of dirty towels into his car, brings them home, and plans when in his schedule he’ll fit four loads of laundry.
Sabo returns the clean, dried, and folded towels to the team at Shower The People, a nonprofit whose retrofitted retired school bus acts as a mobile shower facility for people experiencing homelessness. Sabo picks up another batch of towels, takes them home, and begins the wash cycle all over again.
“I think it’s a necessity,” he says. “I might not be able to change the world, but I can change one situation.”
Sabo describes homelessness as a “challenging and lonely lifestyle.” His son, who experienced homelessness, died four years ago. To honor his son’s memory, Sabo dedicates time to multiple nonprofits that provide aid to people struggling with hunger and housing instability.
“John has been such an amazing blessing to our organization,” says Meredith MacLeod Jaulin, Shower the People’s Chief Administrator. “Our volunteers understand how much of a difference being clean and taking a shower can be to an individual.”
Jaulin says those who utilize Shower The People’s mobile facilities often experience a renewed sense of dignity and self-worth. Access to better hygiene can also open doors to job opportunities and housing.
She adds that, without volunteers like Sabo, keeping operations running smoothly would be difficult.
“My philosophy is that there are some people on the front line, like Shower The
People, that have direct contact with these individuals in need,” Sabo says, “and there are other people behind the scenes to make sure things work so the frontline people can do their jobs.”
Sabo works closely with Jaulin to coordinate schedules, and between driving, washing, drying, and folding, Sabo gives as many as seven hours of his week to the organization.
“It’s worth the effort to help other people,” he says. “I would just say look at what you have, then look at what other people don’t have, and see if you can make the world a little bit better place just by helping out.”
Photos courtesy of Shower The People.