Lava Mae: Delivering Dignity and Opportunity, One Mobile Shower at a Time

by Maya De La Rosa Cohen December 01, 2015

Lava Mae: Delivering Dignity and Opportunity, One Mobile Shower at a Time

We love San Francisco. Serving as both our home and inspiration, we are not unaware of the unique challenges inherent in our beautiful city by the bay. With one of the highest costs of living in the United States, there are currently over 8,000 homeless people living in the city of San Francisco.

Enter Lava Mae, the bold and brilliant response project founded by Doniece Sandoval. After an inspiring exchange with a young woman living on the street who repeatedly expressed how she ‘could never get clean’, Sandoval decided to do something about it. With a little bit of research she learned that there were only sixteen existing shower stalls available to the city’s 7,000+ homeless population. So Sandoval decided to take the mobile craze populated by food trucks and apply it towards a new, innovative and kind of wild idea. If we can put a restaurant on wheels, why not do the same with a shower?

Lava Mae

Within weeks, Sandoval saw an article about the SFMTA retiring the old diesel city buses. The rest was grueling and groundbreaking history: San Francisco would have their first ever mobile, private and handicap-accessible shower units. Lava Mae’'s two operating buses (with two more on the way) have garnered national attention. Several cities are eager to adopt this innovative model into their respective communities, which Sandoval openly encourages.

“Compassion is honoring another’s humanity.”

Lava Mae is experimenting with radical hospitality. They treat their guests (a term used particularly for its graciousness) with kindness and compassion. After every private shower each guest is given a take-away hygiene kit to extend the hospitable experience. Though they don'’t believe their services to be a ‘cure-all’ for ending the homeless and housing epidemic in San Francisco, they are providing evidence that with hygiene comes dignity, and with dignity, opportunity. Everyone has the right to be clean, and while a shower doesn'’t translate into ending homelessness, it can provide invaluable opportunities to the communities who need them most.

FGS&Co. is proud to highlight Lava Mae this December. Give the gift that gives back with purchases made through our Lava Mae designated collection.

To learn more about Lava Mae, visit their site here.

Live Big, Love Hard, Give Back.





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