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Life and Religion

Hope floats with nonprofit's solar sinks for the homeless
Cleaning stations mitigate spread of COVID-19
Published Thursday, March 26, 2020 2:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Hope Vibes volunteer Jordan Velez shows off a solar-powered sink built by the nonprofit for Charlotte’s homeless.

Adrienne and Emmanuel Threatt haven’t let a pandemic stop them from serving Charlotte’s homeless community.

Founders of nonprofit Hope Vibes, the Threatts have provided hygiene products for the community since their first serving day in July 2017. In 2018, they distributed 1,500 hygiene packs, 10,000 feminine hygiene products, 200 winter items, 80 tents, tarps and blankets throughout the area.

Their latest form of service is building mobile solar panel hand washing stations for the homeless, as frequent and proper handwashing is one of the most encouraged methods by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus.

“This is a time where you have to look and see where are the gaps in service areas,” Adrienne said. “Who is being overlooked in these times, and how can we meet those needs?”

Said Emmanuel: “On Thursday, Adrienne came across articles about Atlanta and South Africa and the mobile sinks. She said, ‘this is something we should be able to do, and this fits in our lane.’ We started doing some research and mobile sinks, especially the ones in Atlanta, are RV sinks that are foot pumps. We started doing research, none of those sinks are available. You can’t order any of them online. They are all out of stock all over the nation.”

The shortage forced them to get creative. Emmanuel, Hope Vibes board member Jeremy Moffett and volunteer Jordan Velez designed and built the first two units.

“Jeremy said, ‘let’s make this thing solar powered so the only thing you have to do is walk up to it and turn off the faucet,’” Emmanuel said. “We got the drum on Friday. We started building on Saturday. We got it to the point where this week we should be finished with the build, and take it where we need to go. The sink can hold about 25 gallons of water. There are some communities in the University area, and we’re looking to make it available to them.”

Here’s how the sinks work:

“Just like you would your kitchen sink or your bathroom sink, just walk up to it, and turn on the faucet. Lift the lever,” Emmanuel said. “In the evening, if someone needs to use it, there will be a light with an on and off switch on the side of the drum. There will also be a mirror as well, if anybody needs to brush their teeth or something like that. It functions exactly like the sink in your bathroom. There is nothing else that you would personally need to do to use it.”

While the finite details are still being worked out, the mobile sink will include soap, but whether it’s in a pump or bar remains undetermined.

“Soap is going to be available regardless,” Emmanuel said. “We might have a container that just has bars of soap inside. That’s up in our lane as well, so if the individual needs something beyond just that one soap station they can get what they need as well.”


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