Iwilei, HI (KITV) — How many of us take for granted a hot shower? For many homeless folks, it’s a luxury.
A Honolulu couple took it upon themselves to start one up and it opened this week. They say giving back to the community brings them blessings.
This mobile hygiene center is called Revive + Refresh. Husband and wife Craig and Danica Shoji started this as a volunteer project.
Danica explains, “We’re just trying to help where we can. For us, it’s a blessing to be able to bless other people.”
They have a city contract for $400,000 over five years, “of which $150,000 was to purchase the truck and trailer. That leaves us $50,000 a year for the next five years. Every time we take the truck and trailer out on the road there is a fixed cost which the city contract won’t cover. We need to raise – on our own-an additional of $150,000 a year to fund this project. Revive + Refresh is non-profit organization,” Craig said.
The Shojis debuted their truck this week at a city press conference to show the media it’s new hygiene center on 431 Kuwili Street in Iwilei. It is the city’s latest facility to address homelessness. Revive + Refresh will be part of the offerings.
The hygiene center is expected to open by the end of the year, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. The entire building is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2019.
Craig describes his guests’ reactions. “They really feel refreshed and they walk in like, ‘Yeah, OK, I”ll take a shower.’ They walk out smiling like, ‘That felt so good!'”
The Shojis say this is their small effort to solve a community issue. Craig recalls thinking, “Our problem is growing. We notice a lot of families and children being houseless. It took a heart to me, like, OK, how can we help them?”
It took them two years to get this off the ground. They’ll be at the city’s new Iwilei hygiene center, and at events working with other agencies for the homeless.
Craig expects to bring the unit to events around town that other agencies coordinate. “They have pop up events for the houseless and invite us to come to those events and bring the shower trailer. At the same time they’ll offer medical, whatever they need.”
Danica says she is grateful for the ability to touch lives, even if just a few at a time. “We cannot change everyone. We cannot help everyone. But at least if I can make a difference in one person’s life.”
The Shojis have full-time jobs and spend their free time helping others. “We didn’t expect anything back, but the reward is so rewarding. There’s so much fulfilling and blessing,” smiles Danica.