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METRO Donates Homeless Shower Bus

Akron Reporter Special Report:

(Akron, OH) -- A new initiative aimed at helping Summit County‘s homeless community received a donation of a Metro Bus to be reconfigured as a mobile Hygiene Bus.

The bus will provide the homeless with hygiene options beginning this fall.

According to the Summit County Continuum of Care 2022 Report, over 4,478 homeless people sought aid with 1,103 persons going from homelessness to a permanent housing. Despite the tremendous need, the Forever R Children agency is stepping up to give the homeless some hope.

In March, 2022, while performing monthly food distributions, Rob encountered individuals asking if the Forever R Children agency had the means of providing showers.

A family, who had been sleeping in their car, asked if the agency could assist them with cleansing options. Robert was so moved by these requests and immediately thought that something had to be done to assist homeless citizens with hygiene options. The shower bus initiative was born.

Forever R Children (FRC), a non-profit organization serving Akron Summit County, Ohio communities, is dedicated to meeting children and their families’ social and human needs.

Robert P. Ford Jr., a Lead in Akron’s Goodyear Final Finish Department, founded Forever R Children (FRC) agency in 2019. He is a recipient of the 2022 Jefferson Award which recognizes people around the nation who are performing extraordinary public service in their respective communities.

Robert began his charitable crusade after seeing the immediate, observable and undeniable need for essential human assistance among mainstream at-risk youth, adults, veterans and children with disabilities. He began working to eliminate the disparity he witnessed.

He researched nationally to determine what alternatives were available. The results indicated many communities had converted transit busses into mobile shower units.

The agency began working with the Metro Regional Transit Authority to secure a decommissioned bus that could be retrofitted into a mobile hygiene unit.

After numerous meetings and discussions, Metro’s Board of Directors unanimously voted on April 2023 to provide the decommissioned coach to Forever R Children.

. The bus will be transformed into two showers, two toilets and two changing rooms, with sink basins. Kamper City, a local camper dealership located in Peninsula, Ohio was selected to perform the bus conversion.

On July 12th, the title of the bus was officially transferred to Forever R Children by METRO Chief Executive Officer, Dawn Distler. Chief Operating Officer Jarrod Hampshire, drove the bus to the Kamper City campus. He was accompanied by Chief Culture Officer, Titia Harris.

The 2008 forty-five-foot motor coach is slatted to begin operating in the fall of 2023. FRC plans to serve 20 persons in the 2 day start-up, “Our goal is to serve at least 50 people per day, 4 days a week,” said a board member.

If you would like to consider partnering with FRC on this special community project, please go to our website where you will be able to provide a one-time gift or a recurring monthly donation.

All donations received will assist in providing some of the most basic human needs to those who are most in need.

Danielle Williams-Thompson is the FRC board president. Other board members are James Grant- vice president, Eric Hamdan-secretary, Rev. Lori Porter- treasurer, Dr. Fannie Brown-executive advisor, and Andrew Respress.

To learn more about FRC and its many community programs, please visit our website. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram!Reprint from The Report (Akron, Ohio).


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