Once a week, a white trailer with two shower stalls pulls up to Abbotsford’s MCC Center on Gladys Avenue.
People with few resources, who are often without shelter and resort to emergency shelters, can clean themselves from head to toe with peace of mind. The two shower areas are separate and each equipped with all the usual comforts. Each person using the service will also receive a new pair of socks.
They are also getting their dignity back, if only for a moment, noted Abbotsford Mayor Ross Siemens. He thanked the Abbotsford-based Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry at a recent gathering to celebrate a major donation to their cause.
“I’m impressed and encouraged by how you got involved and recognized a need,” he told a small group of volunteers, adding that they are making important connections in the community. It’s an example he hopes others in the community will follow.
“They are touchpoints with people in our community who are valuable but don’t feel valuable,” he said. “You restore dignity.”
Siemens said their work goes further than they might see as the city is able to showcase the partnerships to visiting government officials while also asking for funding. For example, new housing secretary Murray Rankin was recently able to tour Abbotsford and was impressed to see partnerships in the town making the most of the available funds.
The Ministry is a registered non-profit charity with a Christian vision and has provided more than 2,600 showers since it began work in 2019. They also now provide showers at Maple Ridge, which keeps the little group of volunteers as busy as ever.
Last week they were presented with a $10,000 donation from an Abbotsford Foundation to continue their work. Actor Blake Elliott presented Refresh Mobile Ministry with his “Mister Blake Foundation” check on Jan. 19.
Raised in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, Elliott has enjoyed success as a musician for the past decade. He has so far donated more than $500,000 to various charities.
He was thrilled to be able to donate to the ministry, he said, holding up a pair of socks at the end of the ceremony. They were a pair given to him years ago by his late mother and kept as a keepsake.
“She used to buy me socks,” he said, adding that the pair would have been bought many years ago in Goslings, in downtown Abbotsford.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to donate a dear little soul to them,'” he said.
To learn more, visit refreshmobileshowerministry.ca.
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