Coronavirus: Alabama church provides showers, laundry service to homeless

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — If cleanliness is next to godliness, an Alabama church is on the right track.

As a way to help slow down the coronavirus pandemic, River City Church in Montgomery has installed a portable shower and laundry trailer for the city’s homeless population, WSFA reported.

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The “Clean Machine” made its debut Sunday. The future schedule will have services available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the television station reported.

People are limited to one load of laundry per day, and the church will provide free towels, washcloths, soap, shampoo and conditioner, reported.

Patrick Aitken, missions and outreach director for the church, said good hygiene for the homeless population is crucial in keeping the coronavirus under control.

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“We’re encouraged to wash our hands for 20 seconds multiple times a day, but what about the individual that’s sleeping out on the streets that have no access to wash their hands more or less their clothes or even their whole body,” Aitken told WSFA. “God has been good by providing this to us, and we are gonna make the most use out of it that we can.”

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Aitken and River City Church Senior Pastor Justin Todd borrowed the “Clean Machine” from a church in the small town of Eclectic, located several miles northeast of Montgomery. Church staffers in Eclectic lent the trailer to Aitken and Todd, who will use it until early May, reported.

“I remember when I saw it. I went to Justin and I was drooling. I said, ‘Pastor, we need this bad,’” Aitken told the website. “Of course, a month ago, I didn’t know how badly we were going to need it.”

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After getting a plumbing issue fixed, the “Clean Machine” was ready for use.

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Todd said the need for a place for the homeless to clean up was large, especially since other facilities in the area have been closed.

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“We’ve heard that there are some places that are limiting the showering capabilities and hygiene capabilities because of fear of the virus,” Todd told WSFA. “All of them are living out in the woods or under awnings and things like that, and so I feel like this will help out a good bit."