Mt. Clemons, MI (CBS Detroit) – Established in 2018, WAVE Project (Welcoming All Valuing Everyone) is a grassroots nonprofit organization based in Macomb County. The founding 6 members of WAVE project were brought together by the common threads of faith, family, and a desire to make an impact by serving and loving the community.
The project started with a monthly Outreach BBQ event in Mount Clemens where volunteers and people experiencing homelessness alike sit down together over a meal and share their stories. Through hearing people’s stories, it became evident that access to hygiene services is a major barrier for those in the community who are experiencing homelessness.
“The WAVE Project is a great example of community involvement because we’re all volunteer staffed,” explains Todd Gordon, WAVE Project Co-founder. “We’re a bunch of friends who got together and wanted to get out in our community and make a difference.”
Due to transportation, accessibility, and other barriers, members of the homeless community often go long periods of time without a shower. It quickly became apparent that Mobile Showers were a need not currently being met in the Metro Detroit region. After extensive research, and meeting with community leaders and existing organizations, a unique mission emerged for WAVE Project: to share love by providing mobile showers to those in need.
Within a year, hundreds of people were inspired to ‘Join The WAVE’ and generously donated their resources to help fund the purchase of a custom, 3-stall mobile shower trailer. “Through the support of community members and different organizations and businesses in our community, this shower behind me was made possible,” says Gordon. “We’re getting out in the community and we’re just trying to love people.”
Equipped with private stalls including toilet, sink, and stand-up shower, the shower trailer rolled up to Metro Detroit in August of 2019. WAVE Project provides 30+ showers per event, and is already dreaming of future growth and expansion.
“I got involved in the WAVE project when the County commission brought this to our attention,” says Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “The issue of homelessness is an important one in Oakland County, and one that really hasn’t been addressed as seriously as it needs to be. We have more than 4,000 people in Oakland County that are homeless on any given day, and more than half of those people are children.”
“The first step in the mobile shower service process is that our guests are greeted by our welcome team at our welcome table,” explains Gordon. “Their job is to make our guests feel loved and welcomed and we answer any questions they have. We outline how the shower service works, we tell them how much time they’re going to get in the shower, and resources like a towel and hygiene kit are provided. Then they’re brought down by a mobile service crew member to their own private stall for a shower.”
“A lot of the people there don’t have a shower facility, so they go on and on for months without a shower,” says Brenda Carter, State Representative for the 29th District. “This is invaluable, incredible, I’m just watching the people go in the shower unit behind me and I’m just smiling.”
With site partners on board in Macomb and Oakland counties, WAVE Project is poised to serve the homeless community in a unique way and impact generations to come.
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