By Bradley George
Marcia Hall has worked with homeless people in Hillsborough County for over a decade. As a receptionist at Metropolitan Ministries, she’s often the first point of contact for someone looking for help.
“One day, a young lady came to the desk and a very soft voice she asked me if there was anywhere to get a shower,” Hall said. “I told her unfortunately we didn’t provide that at that facility.” But Hall did her best to accommodate the woman. “I put her in the women's bathroom, locked the door, and told her to go for it.” The woman was able to clean up, but it wasn’t a full shower.
Hall never saw the young woman again. “But that really grabbed my heart. To think about a woman who could not refresh herself. I began to seek God about how to provide showers.” Hall found a businessman who owned portable showers. He was happy to donate a few, and Hall decided to start her own non-profit, Mr. Bubblez.
Since they’re portable, the showers can go anywhere there’s a water hookup. On a recent Saturday, Mr. Bubblez set up shop at the Church of the Nazarene in Brandon. “In the beginning, our challenge was finding locations,” Hall said. “A lot of people are not comfortable with the homeless, and I can respect that. I aimed at locations, may it be a church or just an outreach center, that serves the homeless.”
Hall and a dozen or so volunteers help at each site. In addition to showers, Mr. Bubblez offers clothing and hygiene products.
Hall says she’s heard from advocates for homeless people in other cities who are interested in starting similar non-profits. But for her, the individual impact is the most important. “Just to see a smile on someone’s face, and to see the hope in their eyes re-lit, that’s the greatest thing.”