Equipped with three donated Saniflo Sanishower drain pumps and one Sanibest Pro grinder pump, the newly refurbished Showering Love bus, Faith, becomes the nonprofit’s second vehicle to provide those in need with one of life’s basic amenities.
DAVIE, FLORIDA — The vision for Showering Love grew out of its founder’s own ten years’ experience with homelessness. Once Jeanne Albaugh found herself “home” again, she knew she needed to help those suffering the very same adversities.
“When I got my own life back on track, I reached out to the community and shared my ideas,” explains Albaugh, who serves as president of Showering Love. “The community jumped on board, and it all came together very quickly.”
Incorporated in 2016, Showering Love soon after built its first bus, called Grace, to provide showers and private restrooms to Florida’s homeless community from Palm Beach to Miami, FL in a mobile setting. Formerly a city bus, the vehicle has an interior measuring 320 square feet.
When looking to build entirely self-sufficient bathrooms and showers on the bus in a way that would accommodate numerous guests day after day, Gifford conducted intensive research and came upon Saniflo’s above-floor plumbing technology.
In 2016, Saniflo donated two Sanibest Pro units to handle the effluent drainage and discharge of Grace’s two bathrooms. The Sanibest Pro is a one-horsepower pump system equipped with a heavy-duty grinder. Its stainless steel cutting blades rotate at 3,600 RPM to easily handle a variety of sanitary articles: condoms, sanitary napkins, Q-tips, dental floss, etc. Once these articles are quickly reduced to a fine slurry capable of moving through narrow-diameter pipe, the Sanibest Pro will discharge the waste up to 25 vertical feet and/or 150 horizontal feet.
Critical to Showering Love’s effectiveness is having the ability to meet guests where they are — without having to hook up to municipal water, septic and electric. Not wanting personal hygiene to be regarded as a privilege, Albaugh and her nonprofit is dedicated to restoring dignity and hope to those in need.
Albaugh’s plan received an enormous lift from the late Rowdy Gifford, a 20-year master plumber who actively supported Albaugh’s mission and had the vision “to bring mobile showers to fruition,” she says. In remembrance of Rowdy, who helped conceptualize and inspire Grace, the Showering Love initiative recently expanded its mission with the addition of a second bus, called “Faith.”
Faith in action
According to Albaugh, introducing Faith to Showering Love’s mission is a dream come true. The nonprofit intends to build a fleet of buses to provide the homeless community with not only showers, but also restrooms, laundry services, shoe donations and other essentials — all with the intent of delivering hope and empowerment.
Originally a tour bus, Faith is now equipped with a new bathroom, three new showers and laundry facilities. Slightly larger than Grace, at 340-square-feet, Faith was able to incorporate the extra amenities of a washer and a dryer, referred to as “Loads of Love.”
“This has been a community project,” says Albaugh. “We say ‘the community is our heartbeat’ because we really do not have big funders, but we do have a lot of love from the whole community that is supporting us. This bus, ultimately, is being created in Rowdy’s honor and these gentlemen are making it happen.”
Drainage for all these new facilities is provided by three donated Sanishower drain pumps and a Sanibest Pro. Both the black water from the bathroom’s toilet and gray water from the sinks, showers, and washing machines are pumped into a 300-gallon blackwater tank, located in the under-storage area of the bus. A separate, 300-gallon freshwater tank provides water to all fixtures on the bus.
With the help of builder Robert Saunders, builder for Showering Love, and licensed plumber Robbie Abruscati, owner of Paramount Plumbing (Orlando), the renovation process has been seamless. In addition to Saniflo’s four product donations, Paramount has furnished any additional materials needed in the rehab.
Showers: Regarding the Sanishower as the best product solution for this installation, Abruscati and Saunders installed the three units to handle drainage from the showers. The gravity feed from the freshwater tank permits a 10-minute shower in full privacy.
Capable of discharging gray-water waste up to 12 feet vertically and 100 feet horizontally, the Sanishowers for this application pump eight feet vertically through a 3/4-inch discharge pipe. The latter connects to a second, 1-1/2-inch discharge pipe running 25-feet horizontally into the blackwater tank.
Abruscati regards the Sanishower as a very user-friendly product. “It’s simple to connect and definitely easy to install. The plumbing installation took about 20 hours in total, including the addition of supply lines. I think it is a really good product and something I’ll be sure to use in the future.”
Bathroom: The new bathroom will be used primarily by staff, while accessible to guests in the case of an emergency. Having decided to tear out the existing facility because it could flush only liquids, Saunders chose the Sanibest Pro as the best solution for re-implementing the bathroom because of how well it has performed aboard Grace. The Sanibest Pro moves effluent just five feet vertically through a 1-inch discharge pipe down to the blackwater tank.
“The installation of the Sanibest Pro took one hour and was a very simple installation,” says Saunders.
Goal: Bigger impact on the community
Since the unveiling of Grace four years ago, Showering Love has provided over 50,000 showers to the homeless with only that first bus. Thanks to Faith’s additional shower, the nonprofit hopes to provide even more showers within a quicker time frame, thus having a bigger impact on the community.
“Showering Love wouldn’t exist without Saniflo,” says Albaugh. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
Thanks to the latest donations from Saniflo and others, Showering Love is determined to do even more.
ABOUT SANIFLO SFA SANIFLO U.S.A. – whose parent company originated macerating plumbing technology — offers a complete line of waste and drainage pumping systems for residential and commercial applications. Saniflo developed its innovative, “above-floor plumbing” technology more than a half-century ago and has led its commercialization worldwide. Today, the company markets macerating technology through 24 subsidiaries in 50 countries and has sold more than seven million units worldwide since 1958. Saniflo markets through independent sales agents throughout North America, and the product line is currently available at distributor and dealer locations throughout the United States and Canada.
For more information, contact Saniflo at 1-800-571-8191. Or visit the Saniflo website at saniflo.com.
For editorial assistance, including photography, contact John O’Reilly c/o GreenHouse Digital + PR: 815-469-9100 or [email protected].
Robbie Abruscati, licensed plumber and owner of Paramount Plumbing, preparing the installation of the Saniflo Sanishower for a private shower room.
Image Size: 6″ wide x 4.5″ high (Lo-Res: 432 × 324; Hi-Res: 1800 x 1350 pixels)
The 300-gallon blackwater tank is located in the under-storage area of the bus alongside the 300-gallon freshwater tank. Connecting to both Sanishower units and Sanibest Pro Units, the 1½-inch discharge pipe.