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Richmond church upgrades shower space for homeless: 'Love others'

Minister: 'We didn't want them to take our leftovers or our sub-par offerings. We wanted them to have the best.'
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Posted at 9:28 PM, May 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-16 21:34:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond’s First Baptist Church unveiled upgraded showers and changing areas for the homeless Sunday.

The church located at the corner of Monument Avenue and Arthur Ashe Boulevard previously offered showers for about 150 people experiencing homelessness each week.

While the program launched in 1999, the showers dated back to the 1940s, so church leaders said the space needed a major overhaul.

The pandemic served as an opportune time to upgrade the space, church officials said.

"I think so often society looks down on the homeless and makes a lot of assumptions, most of which probably are not true. But we didn't want them to take our leftovers or our sub-par offerings. We wanted them to have the best," First Baptist’s Minister of Compassion Steve Blanchard. "That's the best thing I think we can do, just love others as we would have them love us."

The church is one of three faith centers that provides showers for the homeless.

First Baptist plans to resume the shower program, which was paused because of the renovation, in June.