God’s Bathhouse, started by a local couple, is trying to make sure the homeless get their basic needs met.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
It was 51 degrees, cloudy and windy on Tuesday afternoon. Still, a few people gathered outside of Hope Fellowship Church in Daytona Beach to take a shower.
The hot showers were courtesy of God’s Bathhouse of Volusia County.
God’s Bathhouse is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that provides showers for the homeless via a mobile unit run by husband-and-wife team Elizabeth and Elgia Glass. The Glasses are assisted by Richard Jenkins.
God’s Bathhouse operates multiple days a week at locations in Daytona Beach, DeLand and New Smyrna Beach.
Clean clothes too
God’s Bathhouse’s critical mission is to provide a service for the homeless even when it’s chilly outside.
“They slept on the ground last night, so we can come out and give them a shower and some clean clothes. We got hot-shower capability. I think it’s necessary to give them a shower any time they need it,” Elgia Glass, president of God’s Bathhouse, told the Daytona Times on Tuesday.
“Some people go two or three weeks without a shower or even more. They really want to take a shower.’’
God’s Bathhouse’s website explains the importance of the services offered: “A shower goes beyond having the chance to get clean. It provides a sense of dignity and the confidence in the face life’s daily challenges. Without the ability to get clean, how can anyone successfully pursue relationships, employment, or even permanent housing?’’
A good combination
Every Tuesday, the mobile unit is parked outside of Hope Fellowship – located at 869 Derbyshire Road – from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The shower service runs simultaneously with the church’s “We Feed” program that provides hot meals for the homeless and those in need.
“The church didn’t feed today so our numbers or down. We usually have 20 or more people come and shower, but today, we had around 10 so far,” Glass said Tuesday.
‘Working out well’
“When we did our last fundraiser, I was looking for different churches that would come in and get the word out.
Chantel Jordan-Clark, who is affiliated with the church, got word about us to the ministers and one of them contacted us and allowed us to come,” said Elizabeth Glass, who is vice president of God’s Bathhouse.
“It’s working out well, especially with the feeding program. They can take a shower, then go at or go eat, then come and shower.’’
Glad for shower
It worked out well on Tuesday for Dave Lambert, who is homeless.
“These are really good people. You couldn’t ask for or find better people than this. They still came out despite it being cold,” Lambert told the Times.
Lambert is a retired underground utilities worker who is trying to get his life back together after suffering some hard times. He was glad to shower for the first time in five days.
“I had a good life. I had a good home in Winter Springs. My kids attended private school. My wife died a few years ago and I fell into depressed and got heavy on the bottle. I usually go try to find work every day,” he offered.
“When you’re homeless, you can either try to find work, go to a coalition or shelter if you can get in. When you do, you don’t find work. It’s harder to get assistance if you’re homeless and single. Also, when working you don’t really make enough for hotels. Even the roach motels want $65 per day and you don’t want to be there.”
How it started
Elgia Glass said he created God’s Bathhouse after surviving a bout with prostate cancer.
He bought a truck after raising $6,500 and then had it converted into the mobile showering unit that was operational by March 2014.
Glass explained, “I got an idea from God to do this. I acquired a truck and got the 501(c) (3) and got it going. I was getting radiation treatment for cancer. God cured me. The Lord told me what I could do for somebody else.’’
“I saw some homeless people in a store one day. I went to a convenience store and I saw the way that the owners treated the homeless people in the stores. They treated them bad. A lot of times they told them they smelled bad. I thought to myself that they need a shower and why don’t I help them get one,” he continued.
Glass noted how he can relate to those who are being discriminated against.
“I grew up in the South in St. Augustine, Florida. I was spit on and shot at because of my skin color. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to treat each other how we want to be treated. That is what I like to do. I like to help people.”
Run by donations
God’s Bathhouse serves as few as 60 people to more than 100 per week with hot showers and personal hygiene supplies (bath cloths, towels, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion), as well as pillows, blankets and clothing (jackets, shirts, underwear, jeans, shoes).
The operation is funded by money donated, which is used to buy the items needed.
For more information on God’s Bathhouse, visit www.godsBathhouse.org or send emails to Elizabethglass98@yahoo.com or GodsBathhouseofvolusia@gmail.com.