NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The road to recovery in Florida will take lots of time, money, and help from volunteers, many of whom are coming from Tennessee. That includes members of an organization called Shower Up Nashville, which typically doesn’t respond to natural disasters, until now.
Shower Up Nashville is dedicated to helping those experiencing homelessness get a shower, but this week, they’re helping a different group of people in need: those devastated by Hurricane Ian.
“There’s no power for half a million people down there. The hotels are closed, Airbnb’s are closed, families’ homes are shut down, and some are flooded out,” said Paul Schmitz, the executive director of Shower Up Nashville. “So with families, this is a big issue.”
According to Schmitz, he knew they had to help people in Florida, so they packed up their mobile showers and headed south.
However, the organization’s showers aren’t just for hurricane victims. Schmitz said he hopes volunteers and people helping with recovery efforts can find some relief.
“When we think about what happens after a hurricane or after a flood or after a natural disaster, we saw it here in Nashville after the tornado. What happens afterwards is that’s when the work begins,” he explained. “And for some of these relief workers, they’re going down and they’re going to work 15 or 16 hours a day. We don’t think about the people whose homes are here and how much they’re working.”
The mobile shower units feature three shower suites with hot water and LED lighting. Schmitz said this basic necessity is often taken for granted, but it can go a long way.
“What I really hope happens is that for a moment, just for a moment, a shower can give them a bit of a break, it can let them exhale,” he told News 2. “That’s what we really hope is that people will find just a moment of encouragement and a moment of relief while they’re doing all this hard work.”
Shower Up usually focuses its efforts in Nashville, so this trip to Florida was not included in its budget planning. If you’d like to help the organization’s mission, follow this link to make a donation.