This Atlanta Man Is Assembling Portable Hand-washing Stations For The Homeless - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

In light of the global COVID-19 crisis, also known as the coronavirus, pandemic, the Center for Disease Control has advised everyone to wash their hands thoroughly and make limited contact with others—specifically those that have become infected—to quell the outbreak and flatten the curve, a term for decreasing the number of new cases over a longer period. This Atlanta man is building hand-washing stations to help a group of people that is among the most vulnerable to the virus—the homeless.

Terrence Lester is one of the organizers of Love Beyond Walls, a group that supports the needs of homeless residents. After seeing how the pandemic left many homeless residents with no resources, they decided to come together to create hand-washing stations to help protect them from becoming infected or infecting others. After being homeless himself, it was critical that he give back to the community, knowing the challenges they face first hand.

“When I was experiencing homelessness being out there, you would have to go a mile or two to wash your hands or go to the bathroom,” Lester said to Shoppe Black. “I wanted to make sure we put stations in parts where people are under bridges, just in case someone wants to stop and wash their hands.”

It started when Lester got on the phone and started contacting RV manufactures, who could use technology that helps build portable hand-washing stations. Not before long, 15 portable machines have been donated to the group with each holding between 5 and 10 gallons of water. The organization will be placing them all over the cities in communities that need it most.

“I started wondering how homeless people would keep their hands cleans, it’s already difficult,” Lester said. “The reality is some people are going to live on the streets and be on the streets.”

Lester says he hopes to help other organizations throughout the country give the homeless freshwater resources for help during the outbreak and after.