Target: Doniece Sandoval, Creator of Lava Mae
Goal: Praise program that turns buses into showers for homeless people
While many tourists are in search of a trolley in San Francisco, many homeless people are in search of an old bus, not for the reasons that one might think though. Doniece Sandoval has developed a program called Lava Mae, loosely translating to “wash me,” for the homeless people of San Francisco.
By converting retired Muni (short for San Francisco Municipal Railway) buses to mobile bathrooms, Sandoval has attempted to address the city’s problem of limited access to showers for homeless people. Receiving buses from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, permission from the Public Utilities Commission to use fire hydrants as a source of water, and donations, Lava Mae was ready to roll.
Enabling homeless people to shower allows them to have their dignity and revitalizes them. Although helping the homeless can unfortunately be divisive, everyone can agree that allowing a bathroom for the homeless will create cleaner, more healthy communities and perhaps will lead to better relations between the homeless and the public.
Equipped with a mirror, radio, and even accommodations for the handicapped, these buses have caused a buzz. Many cities around the world are calling Sandoval to ask how to start the program in their own cities. Please show your appreciation for the efforts to support homeless people and encourage the extension of the program to other places in need.
Dear Ms. Sandoval,
Thank you so much for your innovative method to increase opportunities for homeless people to have a nice shower. Lava Mae does much more than provide people with a place to use a bathroom, though. It offers privacy and lets homeless people take pride in themselves and opens the eyes of the public who often look away from homeless people. From the radios, to expanded stalls for handicapped people, the thought and care that you have put into this program is truly touching.
Turning buses into bathrooms for the homeless is hopefully a program that will be able to expand throughout the world. It is my utmost hope that Lava Mae can transform the lives of countless people by going from unsanitary cities to healthy communities that are more compassionate for those less fortunate.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lava Mae