Charitable program gives people the dignity of a shower, clean clothes

Charitable program gives people the dignity of a shower, clean clothes
Donations of supplies can be dropped off during regular business hours at the Salvation Army in Gulfport on 22nd Street. (Photo source: WLOX)
Donations of supplies can be dropped off during regular business hours at the Salvation Army in Gulfport on 22nd Street. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Fresh and Clean program is offered every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  (Photo source: WLOX)
The Fresh and Clean program is offered every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's a program with a simple name, but it has a very powerful impact on the lives of the less fortunate here on the coast. The Fresh and Clean program is giving people clean clothes and clean bodies.

Clothes are washed and dried by volunteers at the Salvation Army in Gulfport, who heed a higher calling. One of them is Susan Williams.

"I love it, and my faith requires that I do it. I have free time and this seems like a great use of my time," Williams said.

Another word comes to mind for the volunteers like Roger Brunell.

"This is what Christianity is about, not what the legislature says Christianity is about. This is Christianity, reaching out, helping our people, these are people in need," Brunell said.

So who is being helped by the Fresh and Clean program?

"This is mainly homeless people, or people who are in houses that have no water, things of that nature," Sgt. Jerry Casey with the Salvation Army explained. "They are kind of stuck. So they come and we wash their clothes. They come here and we fellowship inside this fellowship hall."

Hot showers are also provided for anyone who needs one, no questions asked.  For the clients in need, like Thomas Ginn, the service is a true blessing.

"We are homeless. We live in our Dodge Caravan, so we come here for all the extras," Ginn said. "Like to ask people to please help out the Salvation Army if they can. Everyone is a son or a daughter or mother or father and they are homeless."

Obviously, the Fresh and Clean program would not be able to operate correctly without the tireless hours that the volunteers give them. But there is one other things that folks can do to help. And it's critically important, according to Morgan Shiyou, the director of Salvation Army public relations.

"There is a list that I can provide, but we definitely need dryer sheets, soap, body washes in individual containers, washcloths, towels, things like that," Shiyou said.

And just like that, lives are made better, one wash cycle and one shower at a time.

The Fresh and Clean program is offered every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Donations of supplies can be dropped off during regular business hours at the Salvation Army in Gulfport on 22nd Street.

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