June 2019 – News and Updates

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Andersen

Sue Andersen, our newly appointed STP Board member, is the President and CEO of Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital. She was appointed in July, 2018, and prior to that was a Service Area Chief Financial Officer for Dignity Health and Hospital CFO for Marian, French and hospitals in Southern California. She and her husband Steve live in Nipomo with their two grown children and their dog Max. They have lived on the Central Coast for the past 27 years.

Sue said, “The mission of our hospitals is to serve our communities and Shower the People fits right in with that. I was introduced to Gwen Watkins by a mutual friend who thought that I could be of help. At that time, STP was struggling to raise funds and didn’t have the shower unit yet.

It is so amazing to me to see the progress made in the last year and how far the organization has now gone with everyone’s help. Our hospitals are proud to be a small part of this through donations and helping with the towels.”

STP is pleased to have Sue join our Board of Directors. We look forward to working together to achieve our organizational goals. This collaboration is an important bridge to better the health and welfare of the guests we serve.

Shower Stats

Since our first showers at the end of October 2018 through the end of May 2019, STP has given 1001 showers!

Shower the Families 

Lucia Mar’s Families in Transition Program

Families in Transition is a federal program that promotes educational stability for children and youth facing housing challenges. It is funded by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act which provides funding to states for the purpose of supporting school district programs that serve homeless students.

Shower the People will provide warm showers to families who are enrolled in Lucia Mar’s Unified School District’s Families in Transition program. Currently there are five families in the program. Beginning in August, our mobile shower unit will offer showers at Lucia Mar’s Student Services office, 227 Bridge St., Arroyo Grande, every Monday, 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

If you have a child in the Lucia Mar School District and are:
  • living with another family or friend due to economic reasons;
  • living in a hotel or motel;
  • staying in a shelter, transitional housing, or domestic violence shelter;
  • without housing and living in a car, tent, RV, or trailer;
  • couch surfing or an unaccompanied minor;
  • living in substandard housing (no heat, water, gas, or electricity);

you (or perhaps someone you know) may qualify for the Lucia Mar Families in Transition Program. Contact your school office to enroll.

STP Volunteer BBQ

Guest Testimonial

The couple pictured here have been guests of Shower the People since we opened our doors in November 2018. They arrive early and are always appreciative and grateful to be able to shower. They have been living in their car for the past eight months after moving here from Lake Isabella.

He told me he had a job at a local restaurant as a dishwasher within 24 hours after arriving in the Five Cities. He said they are living in their vehicle because they are saving their money to buy a small place or a piece of land and he would not be able to do that if he was paying rent.

Last week they stopped to talk to me as I was giving them toiletries prior to their shower time. They told me that he had been able to stay employed because he was able to shower regularly and stay clean, a requirement for his job.

She proudly said, “He has been promoted from dishwasher to busser to line cook at the restaurant.”  She then added, “And I have been able to look clean and presentable enough to get a job with a local insurance company.” She gave me a hug and said, “This is because of the help you guys are providing us.”

They stopped by again this week and told me, “I just got promoted to Assistant Manager of that restaurant!” He then showed me the key to the restaurant, attached to his key ring. She beamed and gave him a quick kiss.

Shower The People has a new van!

In April, STP purchased a 2018 Chevrolet Express 3500 Van with the majority being funded by a generous gift from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations in Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach.  The van now remains attached to the trailer and carries all the supplies and toiletries we need for several weeks at a time.

We also recently received permission from Landmark Missionary Baptist Church to park the van at their church in addition to the other churches we have been using.  All of our drivers love the new van!

Get Involved

Donate Money
Donate Essentials

Shower the People is in need of donations of new undergarments and new socks of all sizes, for our guests to put on fresh after their showers. We also need [new] basic toiletries; combs, razors, toothbrushes, small toothpastes. We do not accept individual soaps and shampoos. Please contact us before purchasing items to donate.

March 2019 – News and Updates

Volunteer Spotlight: Rick Grether

Rick Grether brings knowledge and experience to his position of Operations Manager for Shower the People. He was instrumental in the spec and design of the Mobile Shower Unit.

Having worked as a driver for Shower of Hope, SLO, and studying the trailer design for Showers of Blessing, Santa Barbara, Rick said he had a pretty good idea of what was needed for our Shower the People mobile unit. He said, “It is huge that we have the three showers with working
toilets and sinks.” Rick spends his time managing, doing servicing and maintenance and training others in the use of the shower unit.

Rick was born in Stockton, CA. He began a lifelong career in flying at Stockton Airport where he got his private pilot’s licence, taught flying and worked for United Airlines. He went to college at San Diego State and got his degree in marketing. He moved to the Bay Area and started a flight
instruction school and an air charter services business before flying for both Hewlett Packard and United Airlines.

Rick has been married to Claire since 1976 and has four children and three grandchildren. The family lived in Half Moon Bay and SLO, after leaving the Bay Area. They moved to Shell Beach in 2006 when Rick retired from United Airlines.

Rick is very positive about his volunteer work for Shower the People, He said, “I see expansion in the future which may eventually mean the need for another trailer.”

Shower Stats for January and February

We had a total of 302 guests with 50 of them being new to our program.
Approximately 40% of our guests have been women.

Community Outreach

Shower the People has been visiting area churches for the past three months as a part of our Community Outreach efforts. The purpose of this outreach is to describe our mission and services to groups of people who might be interested in volunteering or donating to our program as well as to thank groups of people who have already donated or served our program.

On December 9, 2008, Rick Grether, Kalleen Corley and Gwen Watkins visited the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in San Luis Obispo. After a well-received presentation focusing on the history, mission and accomplishments of STP, the congregation was invited outside for a tour of our mobile shower unit. Many people expressed interest, asked questions and wanted to know how they could help. The congregation generously donated the days offering to the STP operational costs.

January 20, 2019, Gwen Watkins, Rick and Clair Grether, Kalleen Corley, Barbara Owens, Gary and Dory Petersen, and Bill Crewe attended the Nipomo

Presbyterian Church. Rick Grether and Kalleen Corley, presented a short powerpoint and Kalleen Corley, Barbara Owens, Gary and Dory Petersen, and Bill Crewe attended the Nipomo Presbyterian Church. Rick Grether and Kalleen Corley, presented a short powerpoint and presentation emphasizing our mission, history and volunteer opportunities. The congregation toured the mobile shower unit and had an opportunity to talk to STP Board and Advisory Board members. Nipomo Presbyterian Church has generously donated and continues to donate to the operational costs of STP.

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church invited STP to set up our mobile shower unit for tours following their February 17 morning services. Gwen Watkins, Kalleen Corley, Gary and Dory Petersen and Rick and Clair Grether attended the 8 and 10 am services and provided tours and information to the congregation afterward. St. Barnabas is a generous donor to our operational costs and many people expressed interest in helping STP.

Please contact us if your church or organization would be interested in a visit from our STP Community Outreach Program.

STP at the Warming Center

In addition to providing hot showers twice a week at Peoples Kitchen in Grover Beach, Shower The People’s mobile shower unit is now available one evening a week at the South County Warming Center. The day of the week varies depending on the weather.

The Warming Center, managed by Five Cities Homeless Coalition (5CHC), is located at Hillside Church, 1935 Newport Ave., Grover Beach. It operates from November through April and is open depending on weather conditions that include a 50% chance of rain or nighttime temperatures dropping below 40 degrees.

STP’s welcoming and proficient volunteers, using our state-of-the-art mobile shower unit, are ready to provide hot showers from 5:00 to 7:00 pm to all guests who are staying overnight at the Warming Center.

Our evening presence at the Warming Center creates an additional opportunity for many of our communities’ homeless to enjoy a hot shower, especially those who are unable to shower at Peoples Kitchen. Likewise, for those who would like to volunteer but are unavailable during the day, this adds the option of volunteering in the early evening.

Volunteers help distribute supplies (we furnish towels and offer new socks, underwear, toothbrushes and toothpaste), welcome and sign up guests, and clean shower stalls between showers. The best part of being a volunteer, however, is witnessing the reaction of the guests when they have finished their shower: there are big smiles, lots of “That was awesome!” and “I feel like a new person!”

We are grateful that Shower The People has the opportunity to serve the homeless population of San Luis Obispo County and we continue to be inspired and challenged by our motto, “Changing lives, one shower at a time.”

Get Involved

Donate Money
Donate Essentials

(Shower the People is in need of donations of clean undergarments and socks of all sizes, for our guests to put on fresh after their shower.  We also need basic toiletries; combs, razors, toothbrushes, small toothpastes.  We do not accept individual soaps and shampoos. Please contact us before purchasing items to donate.)