September/October 2020 News and Updates
The number of folks showering with us has shot up during this COVID epidemic. All of our three current sites have seen an increasing number of guests since we restarted our shower program in June. Below are some of our shower totals June through August.
- Unitarian Universalist Church — 184 showers — (June through August)
- SLO Library — 105 showers — (July and August)
- Oceano — 50 showers — (August)
All of our cleaners wear full PPE, while guests and volunteers wear a mask and observe social distancing.
We’ve added some products that we believe are important for our guests during this epidemic: our intake volunteers hand out 2oz bottles of hand sanitizer and a package of biodegradable outdoor wipes as well as a mask to our guests. This week we’ve also started offering white T-shirts to those guests in need of one.
All of the events we had planned for 2020 — the parades, the Veteran’s Stand Down — have been canceled. We continue to give talks by Zoom to local clubs and organizations. We are still supported and encouraged by our local churches, the Community Foundation, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and the United Way.
The volunteers who are working at our sites have done incredible work. The cleaners have it down to a science, intake is welcoming and terrific at crowd control, we’ve welcomed new drivers, and our site supervisor is back from foot surgery. We have so much to be proud and grateful for!
We fully recognize that not everyone is able to help at the showers during this time and we look forward to the time when we can all be back together again.
We’re Heading Back to Peoples Kitchen!
Starting Thursday, October 8th, STP will once more be providing showers at People’s Kitchen!
We are very excited to restart our shower operations at our very first shower site, 946 Rockaway Ave, Grover Beach, the home of South County People’s Kitchen. STP will schedule our shower operations there every Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Board Welcomes New Member Rick Grether
If you know Rick Grether, two things are abundantly apparent: his love for his family and his commitment to serve his community. For many years, Rick has served as a Boy Scout leader, a soccer and baseball coach, a 4-H mentor, a Sierra Service Project leader, and a guitar-playing music leader at his church. Rick now serves as head of Operations for Shower the People. His first task was to help design and order our new shower trailer. Then, in September 2018, he flew to Topeka, Indiana to inspect the unit before it was shipped to California. Since delivery, Rick has made dozens of upgrades and modifications to the trailer: installed an inverter, added handles, hooks, shower rods and soap dispensers to make it safer and more user friendly, installed an awning to provide shade. Rick also drives the shower trailer, gets it ready for guests, and then helps clean the shower stalls after each use!
Rick is quick, though, to give kudos to the other volunteers he works with, and says he has learned so much working with them, especially now, having to take extra precautions dealing with Covid-19. He really enjoys doing the work, but says that what motivates him is providing hot showers to our unhoused guests. He says, “They are so appreciative of something most of us take for granted.” Rick always greets guests with “Good to see you!” and a smile. One of Rick’s great qualities is his sense of humor, and spending time with him just seems to brighten your day!
Rick grew up in Stockton, California, attending Linden High School. He then went on to graduate from San Diego State and, during that time, joined the California National Guard. Then Rick became a pilot and had a career that spanned forty years, flying for Hewlett-Packard Aviation, Boeing, and twenty-eight years flying around the world with United Airlines.
Rick’s wife, Claire, is the Volunteer Coordinator for Shower the People; they have four children and three grandchildren (two of them pictured above with Rick). Rick loves to spend time with his family and is frustrated by not being able to be with them due to Covid-19. Fortunately, he is planning a camping trip with some of his family in the near future.
In his spare time, Rick plays guitar and sings in a band. He was in Boomerang Band for twelve years and for the past year and a half has been in a trio, “Change of Plans.” Lately, they’ve been relegated to literally playing in a garage!
Rick continues to be a mainstay for Shower the People, and believes that the strength of the organization is the dedication of its volunteers and its all-volunteer program. With supporters like Rick, STP will continue to grow and to provide a necessary, human service to our community.