ST. CLOUD -- A local couple is helping people in the St. Cloud community one shower at a time.

Five years ago Nancy Dyson and Jason Jaques of Sauk Rapids started a Laundry Love program that grew from helping just 3 to over 100 homeless people do their laundry.

Now the couple is tackling another issue facing many in the area with their Shower the People truck. Dyson says they were inspired to create another option when a homeless friend was unable to find somewhere to take a shower.

Place of Hope has a shower and the Salvation Army has a shower, but when you look at the numbers of people that are on the streets and the numbers of showers available and the accessibility of those showers - they're not open 24 hours a day - and you think about how often everybody showers, usually it's every day or every other day. Well, now we're talking that somebody is going to get a shower once every couple of weeks, and that's just not enough.

The truck is currently popping up in a variety of locations around town, and the couple has been providing food for people to eat while they wait in line for their turn to wash up.

Dyson says the focus is on much more than just getting clean.

This is about building community and about building relationships. Certainly, it's about getting clean, but more importantly, it's to get to know people and to give them a little slice of their dignity.

The converted 15 passenger van has a 100-gallon tank and can provide eight to ten showers before being refilled.

The couple has also started up a non-profit organization, Neighbors to Friends, under which these programs operate.

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