BILLINGS — A new program, Showers for our Neighbors, is providing over 400 showers to homeless people in the Billings area.
Wanting to find a meaningful way to help, Billings resident Catherine Card, St. Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, and Bethlehem Lutheran Church teamed up to provide warmth, food, and showers for anyone who signs up for the opportunity.
“It's a way to do something for the folks that are on the streets,” Card said recently. “I think it’s been a safe place and it’s been a welcome place for folks. I think we’ve served to warm them up and feed them and give them some love.”
Starting at 10 a.m. and going until 2 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays every week, the Salvation Army volunteers a van and driver since the program's inception in March to pick up four to five people in need of a shower from St. Vincent de Paul and drive them to Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The church had two unused showers in the basement that were installed when the Family Promise day center was housed there years ago. Now, the space is used for those who need it most.
But during the holiday season, Card said they are more in need of others to volunteer. The volunteers they usually have are busy with their other jobs.
“The Salvation Army van isn’t available, because the driver’s cooking for Thanksgiving,” Card said.
Card recently rented a van to use to transport people to the church from St. Vincent de Paul and is driving them herself for the time being.
Justin Hale was at St. Vincent de Paul when Card showed up. He wasn't signed up for the showers but was able to join the group during the first two-hour slot.
“Sure, I’ll take a shower. I haven’t taken a shower in about, this is like what my fourth week I haven’t taken a shower," Hale said.
Hale has been living on the streets in Billings for two years now and was very grateful for the opportunity to shower.
Two volunteers are needed for the shifts from 10 a.m. to noon and from noon to 2 p.m. The volunteers clean each shower between uses, make toast, and provide a welcoming space for those coming to use the showers.
“All of them are just like me in so many ways, just like you and they are our family and our neighbors,” Card said.
If someone is interested in volunteering, Card said to give her a call at 406-679-1501 to learn how to help.