Each Tuesday and Saturday, Elk Grove United Methodist Church opens its doors -- and its showers -- to anyone in need.
When the church rebuilt after a 2015 fire, existing restrooms were converted to include showers. “Even before we had the fire in the education wing,” says Ruth Reynolds, who organizes the shower ministry, “we recognized that [showers were] an issue for the homeless.” Through the dedication of a group of volunteers -- both from Elk Grove United Methodist, and the community at large -- the shower ministry has thrived since 2017. Reynolds says one of the joys of the ministry is meeting so many people from Elk Grove. Guests waiting for showers often chat with volunteers.
“One of the things that’s been nice while people are sitting and just waiting for their turn is just talking to them. You know, people come from all different walks of life, and it could be you or I that ends up in the same kind of situation. It’s really striking, and it amazes me how resourceful and brave people are.”
Showers are available every Tuesday and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. “We’ve got enough slots for 6 men and 6 women because they’re 20-minute slots over two hours,” Reynolds says. She adds that sometimes the number of women or men will vary, in which case they can still easily be accommodated.
“The guests that use it are very appreciative that it’s available to them,” says Reynolds. The shower ministry works in conjunction with other resources for the homeless at Elk Grove United Methodist: “We dovetail it with Tuesdays, [when Yakov] the Homeless Navigator is there, and on Saturdays, we’ve got the [free] community breakfast.”
There is interest in the ministry expanding its number of days per week. Reynolds says there is certainly a need. “I’ve had people request it. It’s just a matter of having solid volunteers.”
Reynolds says she can always use more help: “I’m always looking for volunteers who are either a regular, one day a month [volunteer], or on call.” Volunteers need to be at least 18 years of age, and available one Tuesday or Saturday a month from 8:45-11:15 AM. If you are interested in volunteering or finding out more about the EGUMC shower ministry, contact Ruth Reynolds through the church office at (916) 686-8303, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.