You’ll find Jason Winter driving down to Atlanta, Georgia every Saturday. He brings along a rainbow-tinted bus and a trailer with a total capacity of 125 gallons of water.
Then he pulls into a parking lot, sets up some stations under a canopy, and brings help to the homeless.
That trailer he brings is filled with donated clothing and essential supplies. When the tank is full, 27 people can take a shower. For those who come up to Winter during his stops, it is the first shower that they’ve taken in weeks, if not months.
While they wait for their shower, they can pick out new clothes. The smell of hot dogs fills the air. Haircuts are possible on most Saturdays.
And, if nothing else, there is ample room to dance to the music playing in the parking lot.
He Has Always Known About the Needs of His Community
Winter grew up in the Atlanta area. He recognizes immediately that his family had more than enough when he was growing up.
“When I got older,” he told USA Today, “I realized that having all these things – a house, a bed, a job, a car – it’s all great, but for me, giving back – that’s my fancy car.”
His project is called Hope Thru Soap. It began in the winter of 2016 when Jason started to collect donations with a group of friends. Blankets, hats, and scarves were passed out to the homeless to ensure they were warm every Saturday.
When winter turned into spring, Jason allowed his idea to evolve. He asked the people what they wanted, and almost everyone said they would like a shower. That was when he knew that he could bring the shower to them.
Up to 300 people are served by the program each month thanks to the efforts of up to 30 volunteers. The monthly cost of the program is about $1,100, which is funded entirely by donations.
Taking the Hope on the Road
When Hurricane Irma came through Florida in 2017, Winter took his program on the road. In Naples, he provided free showers to over 300 people in just 72 hours.
After that successful experience, Winter says that he plans to continue helping whenever a natural disaster happens. During the lead-up to Hurricane Florence, the program assembled a crew that would be able to head east from Atlanta to provide showers and hope in South Carolina.
No matter where the program operates, the goal is always the same: to make someone’s day better than it was the day before.
“You wouldn’t want to shower and put on your same dirty clothes,” Winter told USA Today. “What else would go with a shower? A haircut. And a shave. Try to clean them up, try to make them feel good about their day, so that’s kind of what we do.”
And Jason is still doing it.
You can find more information about Hope thru Soap on their Facebook page, which includes an option to donate.