FLOWOOD, Miss. (WLBT) - You first met Teresa Renkenberger back in March, featured as someone who is Mississippi Strong. Her concept? Take an old food truck and convert it to a mobile shower unit for those who are down on their luck.
As of Monday, November 25, Renkenberger’s idea, “Shower Power,” is no longer just an idea stored inside her memory.
For more than a year now, Renkenberger has been focused on a dream: making sure that everyone has access to a hot shower, something most of us take for granted.
Now, the Shower Power mobile truck is up and running.
Asked if this is a realization of a dream for her, Renkenberger replied, "It is. I’m telling you, I feel abundantly blessed today.”
And it didn’t take long for this bath on wheels to get it’s first bather.
Shelley Pickering says she has fallen on hard times after a bout of depression and anxiety. She’s homeless and camps out for now, relying on the kindness of friends for an occasional shower... until Shower Power rolled up.
Pickering said, “Means everything... everything. I don’t think people know how hard it is to go without until you have to go without, you know? So it’s definitely a blessing. When she said that I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ I wasn’t sure what was going on, but this is definitely something that is needed and I was telling other people that I know that are out there too.”
Renkenberger says many people, like Pickering, feel ashamed because of their condition.
“And to be able to do this and get people, maybe like, just a sense of dignity. It overwhelms me," said Renkenberger.
Pickering, after a 45-minute shower in which she says she used water as hot as she could stand, said, “Clean! I feel much better. I really do.”
Renkenberger estimates there are 2,000 homeless people in the Jackson metro area. Her goal, she says, is to hopefully get at least one person at a tim, off the streets and back into some sort of productive life... and perhaps a hot shower can be that spark.
By the way, the showers are free and those who took them Monday walked away with a free bag full of necessities too
You can help Shower Power help others, by going to www.showerpower.ms.