Restoring Dignity Through Showers, Community, and a Good Meal
Every Monday and Friday morning, Reverend Rosemary Anderson and a handful of dedicated congregation members open their doors to people in need. While the Urban Outreach program at the Tempe First United Methodist Church is nicknamed the “Shower Ministry”, it provides so much more. Guests are invited to take a private shower, select items from the clothing closet, and enjoy a fresh meal.
Reverend Rosemary shared that Waste Not makes a “tremendous impact” for the people they serve. She explained that, “The food that [Waste Not] brings will feed anywhere from 95 to 120 people in a morning and it’s all-you-can eat, so people come back multiple times. The majority of the people are coming straight off the street. Most of them have had a pretty rough night because it’s hard to find a safe place to sleep in Tempe and some of the people we have come from working poor situations, so they come to us for food and clothing…It’s mainly males who come here— the average age is about 40—and we have about 20% women who come in.”
Jorge Vega, a dedicated Waste Not truck driver, delivers food two days per week to this program. So far this year, over 12,000 meals have been delivered to the Shower Ministry. As she and her volunteers helped to unload the Waste Not truck, Reverend Rosemary noted sandwiches, salads, and fresh juices as favorites of those who receive a meal there. She explained that because they only have refrigerators and a microwave available for this service, fresh prepared foods are both crucial to their program and a rarity for many of the folks who come in off the streets for a meal.
“There’s no reason why anyone should be going hungry, because there seems to be plenty of food. So, it’s getting it to where it needs to be”, says Reverend Rosemary, and we couldn’t agree more.