As we continue our virtual tour through our planned drop-in center, the second stop is a room that some might see as embarrassing, but we see as empowering—indeed, as humanizing. A bathroom provides us privacy as we care for very basic personal needs. But women on the streets have few opportunities to tend to their needs in a sanitary, private, safe place. So walk with us now into one of the drop-in center bathrooms.
You will notice first the fresh smell and gleaming surfaces indicative of a place that is cared for with love. Even the toilet is shiny clean, ready for you when you need it. You turn on the water in the sink and run your hand under the refreshing flow. Then you dispense some citrus-scented hand soap and wash your hands. As you dry them on a fresh towel, you peer into the freshly polished mirror and see that your hair is out of place, so you put it right again to restore your confidence. As you turn to leave, you see the tidy stack of fluffy white towels ready for anyone who wants to bathe. Then you pull back the flowery shower curtain to reveal a spotless facility.
Everything about this room sets your mind at ease and restores your dignity as a human being. If you have a home, you have a bathroom like this—or even more luxurious—available to you whenever you need it. But what if you did not?
Right now, Memphis is experiencing our usual summer heat. How many times in the past week have you paused to be thankful for a bathroom with hot and cold running water? There is nothing quite like a refreshing shower in the summer or a warm bath in the winter to give us much-needed comfort. Rest assured that women who spend most of their time on the streets will never take for granted the opportunity to have access to a bathroom like the one we have described.