Soup kitchen hopes to secure land to build showers for homeless

Soup kitchen hopes to secure land to build showers for homeless
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 7:15 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - One soup kitchen in Eastern Carolina is trying to add more to what they can do for people in need. They want to do that by offering a free shower and a place for people to wash their clothes.

But they’d need a building to provide those services - a challenge they are doing everything they can to overcome.

“People don’t realize that there’s a lot of good people out here that are on hard times right now,” explained Robert Brooks who is currently homeless and stops at Joy Soup Kitchen in Greenville regularly with his family. Many of those people rely on centers like Joy, where they can sit in the air conditioning and enjoy a hot meal. But Joy Board Chairman Thomas Quigley said they want to offer even more.

A small plot of land sits directly next to Joy Soup Kitchen on Albermarle Avenue, by South Alley Street in Greenville. It belongs to the city, but Quigley said he has big plans for it - to turn it into a place where anyone can clean up and wash their clothes. “We’re feeding them, we’re taking care of them once the clinic opens up, and we’re trying to get them jobs. But you know what? They don’t have no clothes, nowhere to wash their clothes and nowhere to shower,” he explained.

For Shirley House, a Joy volunteer since 1994, the need is clear. “A lot of people don’t have a way to wash their clothes or take a shower, and that would help them out a lot,” she said.

Right now, city leaders are holding discussions about whether to donate the plot of land to Joy. Quigley said he’s trying everything he can to secure it, including drawing up blueprints and writing a proposal to the city.

“I even put in the proposal a way for them to get out of it. If within a year, I don’t have funding and have this thing off the ground, they can take their land back,” he said, adding that he’s determined to make it happen. “It’s just one more step for us to take care of our community.”

Quigley said they would plan to have attendants at the shower house, and visitors would be timed for how long they could use the water.

City leaders were in a planning session Friday. WITN will check in with them to see if they make a decision about that property.

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