Homelessness is a reality in Abbotsford. The lack of shower facilities affects hygiene that can cause health issues. This creates both a barrier to finding employment and transitioning out of homelessness, since self-esteem and mental health are severely impacted.
We believe that the Refresh Mobile Showers Project greatly benefits the homeless people in the City of Abbotsford because everyone in a community benefit when its members are healthy. We strongly believe that the shower trailer has provided the opportunity for us to connect with people who are homeless and living out of tents or cars. Our purpose continues to be in providing free showers to those who are part of the homeless population. Dignity and respect for all people is our value.
The Refresh Mobile Showers Initiative has widespread support in the community. In just 5 months we were able to raise over $35,000. We used this money to buy the mobile shower trailer.
On May 1, 2019, we were in operation.
Because our program is not-for-profit, we continue to need funding to cover operating and maintenance costs. By partnering with Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry, you will be helping to serve some of the most vulnerable residents of our community.
Would you like to support us in this service to our community? Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apples, Inc., once said that “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
We are grateful for the team that has been built – a team consisting of like-minded individuals and churches/Agencies who have partnered with us. Your support is very important for our success whether that be through volunteering your time, financial support for on-going costs or through your prayers. Together we are able to assist them with their personal hygiene and health, as well as engaging them in relationships. Although material poverty is present, relational poverty is often a more significant part of people’s stories. Probably the most healing response to people living on the streets is engaging them relationally. We believe that it is within trusting relationships that these people are most likely to be willing to take emotional risks necessary to change.
The trailer has two shower stalls – each one has its own private entrance for people to access the free showers. A 225 gallon (845 Litres) onboard freshwater tank will provide water for up to 20 people. An On-demand propane water-heater will supply the warm water. The greywater flows into the 350 gallon (1312.5 liters) holding tank under the unit. Our trailer is heated by a propane furnace. The trailer can also be used at Extreme Cold Weather Shelters in the winter months. Heating elements on the tanks keep the water from freezing in the winter.
Ideally a host site should have water and electricity available. Some of the components require 120 Volts to operate. If your site does not have electricity, we could bring a generator with us. If water is not available on site, the onboard tank can supply water for about 20 showers. If there is a water connection at the site, the number of showers could increase up to 28 showers.
The site will require sufficient space for a truck and the 17 ft. trailer as well enough space for a 10×15 ft. pop-up canopy to cover the sign-up table.
Volunteers: The Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry trailer requires 3-4 volunteers per event. The volunteers serve at the check-in table, helping people get signed up, or helping guests get in and out of the unit if necessary. You will find more details regarding volunteers’ roles later in this guide.
Liabilities and Guidelines
Before receiving a free shower, guests are required to read and sign a liability that they will not damage the host location or the Refresh Shower trailer. Participants also need to agree that lost items are their own responsibility.
The Host site is also required to sign a waiver agreeing that Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry is not responsible for any damage or costs due to normal Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry operations or its participants.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time are guests allowed to spend in the trailer? Each guest is offered 15 minutes in the shower unit. Towels and shampoo are provided.
Are guests allowed to take their personal belongings into the trailer? Personal belongings are not permitted into the trailer. The only items that guests are allowed to bring into the shower unit are a change of clothes. We ask our guests to leave their personal items in a lockable box in a designated place and sign a waiver stating that they understand that we are not responsible for lost or stolen items.
What ages do you serve? We can serve all ages including infants. Guests under the age of 12 years will require adult supervision.
Is the trailer wheelchair accessible? Sorry, our shower trailer is not equipped for wheelchair accessibility. However, we do have a shower chair available for use by those who would find that beneficial.
How is the Refresh Showers program funded? Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry receives funding from private individuals, other churches and businesses. To donate feel free to contact Henry at 604 557-3440 or go to our website:
How can this program be used to share the ‘Good News’? Through building relationships and providing resources. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” is our principle.
Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry staff
– Use latex gloves when handling dirty towels
-. Clean Towels are supplied by Canadian Linen.
-. Dirty towels are to be placed in the Canadian Linen Bag after use.
-. Driver of the tow vehicle is responsible for the clean towels being delivered to the event and bags of dirty towels made available for Canadian Linen pickup on Tuesday night.
This role oversees sign-in for guests and being a welcoming face! This person will be giving general guidelines for use of the showers and answering any questions the guests might have.
Welcoming guests with a smile!
When a guest arrives, write down the first and last name of the guest on the participant signup form, then have the guest read and fill out the rest.
Once the participant form is turned in, write down the guest’s name on the Shower Schedule and inform guests of how many people are ahead of them.
As shower attendant informs you that a unit is available, call out the next name on the list. If they respond, direct them to the attendant and highlight their name with a highlighter to show they’ve taken their turn. If that person does not respond, move to the next person on the list. Come back to any skipped people next time a unit becomes available.
The attendant will let you know which unit the guest enters. Mark their name with a “1 ” or “2” to keep track.
As unit 1 or 2 becomes available, mark off the guest that was inside with a check mark
You help guests keep track of their time in the unit by setting timers and ringing the chime inside the unit via a wireless door chime. Guests get 15 minutes in the unit. You will ring the chime when the guest has 3 minutes remaining and when the 15 minutes are up. You can also assist the check-in table with signing people in and distributing resources’
Duties: When the shower attendant informs you that a guest has entered unit 1 or 2, start the appropriate timer for 12 minutes. (Keep the timers near the corresponding chime button to keep track)
After 12 minutes, when the alarm sounds, press the “stop” button on the timer and press the doorbell’ – Start timer for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, when the alarm sounds, press “stop” and press the doorbell again. Also tell the attendant which unit’s time is up. (If a guest does not come out within 5 minutes, inform staff on site)
This role involves assisting guests in and out of the shower units, handing out towels, and helping guests feel welcome and safe! This role tends to have extra time to be relational with guests who are waiting.
- When a unit is clean and available, inform the check-in table which unit is ready.
They will announce the next guest and direct them to you.
- Guests are allowed a towel, toiletries, and a change of clothes. Ask guests to leave all other items such as bags, phones, pets, etc. in the designated location by sign-in table. Ask guests to do a quick shake of their belongings and a pocket check so you know they aren’t sneaking something in. Please do not check their belongings for them.
- Hand out a towel, socks and underwear before they enter the trailer.
- Before a guest enters, remind them they will have 15 minutes in the unit and that you will ring the chime when they have three minutes left and also when their 15 minutes are up.
- Ask the guest for their name and tell the Check-in Table which unit they are entering. The Timekeeper will keep track of the time.
- When the guest has finished their shower and exits the trailer, show them where to put the dirty towel in the Canadian linen bin.
Cleaning Duties: (use gloves please!)
- When a guest exits, check the unit and record any damage. (If there is damage, a significant mess, signs of bed bugs, or needles, please inform staff immediately)
- Spray approved cleaner on all surfaces.
- Pick up any hair or garbage and put it in the trash bin.
- Once the unit is ready, inform the check-in table!
- This person could be the same as the Shower Attendant.
Ready to Volunteer with Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry?
Find Printable Application form HERE
Risk Management Policies
“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
As volunteers, we are a reflection of God’s love to those in our care and we take our
responsibility seriously. We need to take all the measures we can to help our clients feel safe and to protect them from abuse. We also need safety measures in place in order to protect ourselves against abuse as volunteers.
The following guidelines serve to protect our clients and our volunteers:
Vulnerable Adult Protection Procedures
A. Volunteer / client ratios. There must be at least two volunteers on duty and present at the trailer at all times during operation. It is preferable to have three or four volunteers on duty on any given use
Record must be kept of volunteer attendance.
Observers or visitors who have not been screened are not allowed to assist in the
B. Volunteer Identification
Volunteers are clearly identified with a nametag or approved clothing which identifies
them to clients and observers
C. Client Registration All clients who use the showers must sign the liability waiver PRIOR to using the shower.
This is also used as a record of attendance
The client liability forms must be kept permanently
D. Health and Safety Guidelines Volunteers are encouraged to become certified and trained in first aid. Please give a copy of your certification to your director. Our goal is to have one person trained in first aid on duty at all times.
A first aid kit will be kept in the truck at all times.
Dealing with injuries involving blood
- Ensure no one else has contact with the exposed injury or the blood on any
surface until the wound is covered and the surface disinfected
- Make sure gloves are worn when bandaging the injury
- Use extreme care in protecting yourself from direct contact
Naloxone training is also highly recommended. Training will be offered periodically
Cleaning/ disinfecting the surfaces of the showers between clients is mandatory.
Warn clients about danger of slipping on wet surfaces
E. Proper Volunteer Behavioral Guidelines Refrain from touching clients at all. Care and concern can be shown by giving clients
our attention and kind words.
No hugging or touching any area of a client’s body, especially areas that are covered by
a bathing suit.
Volunteers are NEVER to be alone with a client in a closed room , ie. shower
Never raise your voice, use questionable language, or shout at a client
Never behave in such a way that could be seen as flirting
Never take a client in your vehicle. If it is necessary to give transportation to someone
for some reason, Two volunteers must be present at all times.
Never give a client your personal information (address, phone number, etc)
F. Managing Client Behavior Create a loving, caring atmosphere to gain respect, you must grant respect. Every person deserves to be treated with dignity
Managing escalating behavior
- First priority is to ensure safety of all involved. You may have to clear the area of
other clients and volunteers may need to give the escalating client more space.
- Alert the host supervisor to the potential problem
- Avoid power struggles
- Limit emotionally charged responses
- Avoid threats, ultimatums, or excessive restrictions
- Remain matter-of-fact and neutral
- Give realistically available choices as often as possible
- Plan for unpredictability
- Keep directions short and simple
- Don’t argue
- Say “you’re right” as much as possible
- Approach slowly with non-threatening body language
- Ask them what they need
- Don’t contradict or argue about their beliefs
- Keep stimulus low in the environment
For insurance purposes you will be required to have a Criminal Check Vulnerable Sector search every 5 years.
Applications for the Criminal Check are found on the Abbotsford police website. You may apply online or in person at the Abbotsford Police station.
For more information go to:
To download the application form go to:
If you are required to have finger prints done, please contact Janet Janz (email@example.com) first and she will email you a letter verifying you are volunteering with Refresh so you don’t have to pay an extra fee for this, Your receipt can be submitted along with your results for reimbursement.
Once you have received the results, please give a copy to one of the committee (Henry, Anna or Janet)
All Volunteers are required to fill out an application form for this ministry.
Your application will be kept in a secure location and on file permanently
Confidentiality can be a life or death issue for people who are homeless. As a volunteer
of the Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry Program, you agree to hold information
regarding people you encounter while volunteering and their condition in confidence.
This includes not sharing camp locations. Conversations about individuals being served
and their situations, without their consent are violations of the trust, respect and privacy
to which they are entitled.
• Do not share your personal contact information with individuals being served
(address, phone number, email)
• Do not transport individuals being served in your personal vehicle.
• Connecting and building healthy wholesome relationships between volunteers and
individuals being served is encouraged. It is important that these relationships be
developed carefully and respectfully, recognizing that many individuals being served are
emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically vulnerable. With this in mind, please do
not visit camp locations outside of Refresh Mobile Shower Ministry events.