For Mr. Bubblez, showers are just the beginning

‘Soap+Water+Clean clothing = DIGNITY.’

That’s an equation Marcia Hall, CEO of Mr. Bubblez, has long recognized to be true, and her nonprofit delivers that dignity to those who desperately need it. Mr. Bubblez brings mobile shower events and support directly to the Tampa Bay Area’s homeless. And while COVID-19 slowed the nonprofit’s outreach in the short term, Hall looks forward to a hopeful future as vaccinations rise and volunteers return.

“ ‘I see you and I care’ is our motto,” she says. “We’re hoping to purchase a cargo van and become a permanent facility that provides services for the homeless.”

Those services will include laundry, showers, toiletries and clothing outreach, as well as an on-site Information Resource Center to foster self-sufficiency for the homeless population. The portable showers, in use since 2016, will remain. To date, Mr. Bubblez has provided 600+ showers to those in need. As Hall is quick to explain, the cleanliness service is just the beginning.

“We provide a shower and much more,” she says.

More is synonymous with dignity. Here’s how a shower event works: Mr. Bubblez partners with organizations, churches, and other locations that serve the homeless. Mobile events are posted on the nonprofit’s website, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Agencies that serve the homeless receive emails detailing future stops.

Volunteers pack, load, and transport the supplies vital for each shower event. The mobile shower units are launched as well as accompanying dressing areas; participants are given clean clothing, healthcare hygiene items, a new pair of socks, and new undergarments. Haircuts may even be available. The shower is just the beginning of the renewal process; afterward, a fresh outfit awaits, and with it, the possibility of a better day ahead.

When pandemic restrictions made operating the mobile shower unit impossible, Mr. Bubblez pivoted. The organization provided face masks, shampoo, toothbrushes, and more to partners for distribution. Hall and her husband spent Saturday mornings giving bags to homeless on the street, as well as snacks and water bottles.

“All our homeless neighbors welcomed the package and were grateful for us coming out in the middle of a pandemic,” she says.

As people begin to re-emerge, expect more events -- and more showers of kindness and bubbles.

How can you help?

There’s always a need for donations of clothing and items to stock inside the Mr. Bubblez HHbags (healthcare hygiene bags). There are many other ways to assist; in-kind and monetary donations are welcome. Two mobile shower events have already occurred in 2021; as the schedule begins to fill anew, volunteers of groups or individuals are vital to the effort. 

For more information, to make a donation, or to volunteer, follow these links:Related stories:
How to end homelessness? Tampa Bay area nonprofits bring fresh, new approaches

 

Read more articles by Amy Hammond.

Amy Hammond is a freelance writer and author of children’s books that encourage the next generation to attend college. When not indoctrinating youth about the necessity of higher education, she enjoys exploring the paradise that is her St. Petersburg home. She holds a degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a Masters in Secondary English Education from the University of South Florida. Her work has appeared in such venues as the Tampa Bay Times. Children’s Book Titles by Amy Hammond include: When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Gator; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a ‘Nole; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Bull; When I Grow Up, I’m Bama Bound; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Tiger.
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