ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — I met Chrissy Jenkins through her brother back in 2018. We got together at a Ybor City soup kitchen and she handed out brownies for about 30 minutes.

Everyone there knew Chrissy. She’d been volunteering there for years every Monday night.

She’s always had a heart for Tampa Bay’s homeless.

Chrissy launched a mission to get a mobile shower trailer a few years ago. It took two years do get the funding for a down payment. 

I was there the day it was first delivered to her St. Petersburg home. The trailer had two shower stalls and an area for laundry hook-up on the back end. She was about to take her homeless outreach to the next level.

There are very few places in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties for a homeless person to shower. That’s a problem Chrissy is addressing with her ‘Clean Machine.' 

I was there in summer 2018 when she set up for her first shower. There was satisfaction in her voice.

We met again last December to chat about her goals. She said she wanted to provide showers to 1,000 people in her first calendar year. 

On week 53, she did it. I was there, again, to see her 1,000th shower. She shed a tiny tear and quickly wiped it away. There were more people in line for showers. She couldn’t soak in the moment for too long.

As we wrap up 2019, I appreciate the look back at Chrissy’s journey. She’s a strong woman of faith with inspiration symbols and scripture tattooed on her body. 

She wears her ‘Showered And Empowered’ shirt proudly. That’s the name she chose for her non-profit and it’s certainly fitting. She texted me just before Christmas with another gleeful update.

“Final numbers are 87 loads of laundry and 1,279 showers total,” she wrote.

From that first shower on September 18, 2018, to the final one of 2019, the numbers are staggering. Even more so is the impact felt throughout a community thanks to a woman who cared enough to make a difference.

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