Mississippi Strong: Flowood woman has food truck converted to mobile shower truck for homeless

Updated: Mar. 18, 2019 at 10:06 PM CDT
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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - There are so many things in our daily life that we take for granted. For example a nice hot shower, which, for the homeless, is not guaranteed.

That’s what’s inspiring a Flowood businesswoman to take action -- and her effort is what makes her #MississippiStrong.

Many people either look the other way or ignore the homeless, but not Teresa Renkenberger, who admits she’s always had a soft spot in her heart for the homeless. That’s why the successful businesswoman struck up a friendship with a homeless man named Bennie Flowers.

Flowers said, “I’ve been homeless now for quite a few years, misses five or ten years ago.”

“And, one day during a conversation, I just asked him, how long has it been since you’ve had a shower? And he said a year," recalled Renkenberger.

That was enough for Renkenberger to spring into action; sharing an idea for a solution with her husband.

“And I said, you know, if they can put showers in a camper or in an RV, they can put showers in a box truck," said Renkenberger.

That’s how Shower Power Mobile Shower Unit was born; a food truck Renkenberger bought with her own money, now being converted into a two-stall shower on wheels.

“We’ll go to certain locations around the city. We’re still working on getting those, I guess qualified through the state, but it will be in the downtown area, one location is in south Jackson. One’s in North Jackson and and one is downtown Jackson,” said Renkenberger.

Asked if he was surprised that Renkenberger stopped to help him, Bennie Flowers said, “Yeah, that did surprise me right there a lot.”

But it’s no surprise to those who know Teresa Renkenberger. Her effort began last August and she expects to have the mobile shower truck for the homeless up and running by the end of March.

“There are 2,000 homeless people in the Jackson metro area," she said. “I have a goal of one person. One at a time, to get them off the street; into a job and in a house, apartment or some sort of living area other than the street.”

Renkenberger says she's already had inquiries about her concept from folks in Indiana and Tennessee.

She is now accepting donations -- and several metro area businesses are already on board.

Click here to learn more and donate to Shower Power Mobile Shower Unit.

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