BOCA RATON, Fla. — A hot shower is something most people look forward to at the start or end of each day. But for many in our community, it’s a luxury now made available to them thanks to a partnership between a Boca Raton synagogue and church.
Orlando Mendez has been homeless for 13 years. He can usually count on getting a hot meal from St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in East Boca and now, twice a week, he can also count on a warm shower.
“Considering that I’ve been out here, as they say, down and out for such a long time, this is definitely, I mean I have no word to appreciate that,” said Mendez just before getting ready to enter one of two free, mobile shower units now available to the public.
The church and B’Nai Torah Congregation have teamed up to give some hope and some dignity to those who need it most by offering the showers.
“It’s a whole lot more then just a shower. The shower is pretty much the extra benefit. Getting to be with a community that cares and that actually has the resources to connect you to whatever it is you need,” said Summer Faerman, Director of B’nai Torah’s Tzedakah, Learning and Chesed (TLC) Program.
Faerman has been instrumental in getting the program set up.
“My passion in life is to be able to, every day make somebody’s life a little bit better,” said Faerman.
On shower days, she is helping people ages 3 to 93. That includes a family—mother, father and 3-year-old little girl, who came by for a shower. They’d been living in the car together. They left being connected to resources in the community to help get them back on their feet.
“Just because you are in beautiful, sunny Boca Raton doesn’t mean that everything is beautiful and sunny for every person. We need to be wearing our rose colored glasses and really seeing the world for what it is and showing that every person can make a difference,” said Faerman.
In addition to a hot shower, visitors have access to new shoes, clothing, towels and toiletries. The volunteers will also help connect individuals with proper resources they are entitled to such as SNAP benefits, the VA for veterans and housing assistance for those who wish to get off the streets.
“I am that kid who said I’m going to go and save the world. So whether I was 6 years old or 42, every day I’m going to get up and say, ‘how am I gonna save the world today’. So today, one shower at a time,” said Faerman.
The mobile shower unit was donated by Carebag, Inc. which is a non-profit group that works to provide proper hygiene to those in need. The shower station is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. located at 100 NE Mizner Blvd. No appointment is necessary.
If you know of someone doing good in our community and helping a neighbor, please tell us about them by sending an e-mail to InspiringSFL@wptv.com.