I don’t quite remember how I came across The Neighborhood Well’s (TNW) Instagram page but I am so happy I did. Unlike other posts/pages I don’t immediately recognize when scrolling through my feed, I actually stopped to learn more about their story and their objective. And you know what? I was (and still am) completely blown away by their extreme acts of selfless service. Allow me to introduce you to the mission of TNW and share with you what I experienced when I volunteered to help provide mobile showers to an unhoused community in the DMV.
As taken directly from their website, The Neighborhood Well “TNW” seeks to meet the immediate needs of the homeless and unstably housed communities in our neighborhoods while creating a pipeline to other organizations and resources that enable those in need to achieve stability and long-term self-sufficiency. The way the TNW is able to do this is by providing free mobile showers to the homeless. Twice a month, they host a mobile shower program in partnership with the First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville, where homeless members of the community are able to receive up to 15 minutes of private cleansing and grooming time. Similar to your average hotel, the mobile showers are equipped with cleansing essentials such as soap, shampoo and conditioner for those who need it. It’s a small gesture but it provides a massive blessing to those that do not get to experience this common luxury often. Shower recipients are also able to receive snacks, hot beverages, hot soup, submit prayer requests and engage in meaningful conversation with volunteers after completing their shower.
Fully on board with this mission, I decided to volunteer and quickly reviewed my options to serve. Their outreach calendar had several available slots open including, hygiene items distributor, digital media volunteer, hospitality, set-up crew, tear-down crew, and street outreach. Since I already had a pretty full day ahead, I decided to sign up for the earliest time slot available, 7:00 a.m. and joined the set-up crew. My duties involved loading carts of needed items from the church storage and transporting them to their lower leveled parking lot. Once there, I assisted with staging several tents, setting up tables, organizing hygiene items on each table accordingly, and sorting through donated items such as clothing and hand warmers. There were other volunteers on site that were working on their assigned task as well.
Although my commitment was only for an hour, I decided to stay an additional 30 minutes to assist where needed. During this time I witnessed the vice president of TNW, Jazmin, performing last-minute water pressure and temperature checks on each shower. Another awesome gesture to ensure comfortability for our expected guests. Camille, executive secretary, offered me the opportunity to take a short tour of the showers and then led all volunteers in group prayer just minutes before kick-off. The team really went out of their way to make all volunteers feel welcomed whether this was your first time volunteering or your tenth! They even provided each of us with orange smocks and name tags. I only wished I was able to stay longer but I’m planning to make this a monthly occurrence in 2022 so I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity soon.
If you are interested in serving TNW, there are many ways to do so! Please visit their website to find out the various ways you can offer your support.
Until Next Time
~With Love, Meek