HELENA — On Wednesday evening, United Way celebrated the two-year anniversary of its "Showers To Empower" program.
The program offers free showers to those in need every Tuesday morning at St. Paul's United Methodist.
“Every morning when I take a shower, I do not take that for granted anymore. And we do. And these folks go a week at a time, two weeks at a time and they're just, think about the health and hygiene, not to mention their mental state,” says Community Impact Coordinator at United Way, Jeff Buscher.
Dozens showed up to show their support through donations and chow down on a roasted pig provided by an anonymous donor.
Showers to Empower provides a space for Helena’s homeless population to shower for free. Buscher says that this program provides more than just a shower.
“We just take turns sitting down and listening to these folks. And that frankly offers them a little piece of humanity that, frankly, we know how folks are and how they treat folks on the street, and sometimes it’s not pretty,” says Buscher.
Buscher says that they’ve roughly doubled their number of visits from the first to second years of the program, from about 400 to 700 visits. There were about 50 different people who came to visit in the first year and about 140 different people in the second year.
The initial cash count for donations was around $1,100 raised at Wednesday night’s pig roast. This will roughly keep the shower program going for another year. Buscher says that if you didn’t make it to the dinner, you can still donate money or time specifically to the showers program by reaching out directly to him.