CSL Board members stand at the shower stalls: Arthur Gabhart, David Pernick, Sue Goldsmith and Janet Ray.

West Bloomfield resident is helping the homeless by bringing showers and laundry with the Corner Shower and Laundry.

Featured image courtesy of Sue Goldsmith

Nearly five years ago, Sue Goldsmith and her family attended Mitzvah Day at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. It was here that Goldsmith met Janet Ray and the two bonded over a shared passion for community service.

Ray took Goldsmith and her family on a tour of the church that included a room that had a dingy shower in the corner.

According to Goldsmith, this decrepit shower was the spark that led her and Ray, along with volunteers from all different backgrounds, to begin the Corner Shower and Laundry, an independent nonprofit service dedicated to providing shower and laundry services to Corktown’s homeless.

“That shower kind of lingered in my mind,” Goldsmith said. “I got in touch with [Ray] and we decided it seemed like an important thing to do. As far as my Jewish values are concerned, it is very important to me to give back to the community and take care of others.”

Goldsmith and her family belong to Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township but refer to St. Peter’s as “their church,” according to an article in the Episcopal News Service by David Paulsen.

The board of the Corner Shower and Laundry includes volunteers from all different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

“Working with people who have such different backgrounds is interesting and it’s fun,” Goldsmith said. “I have learned a lot about other religions and cultures. It’s a very diverse group and everyone is playing nice.”

The process of creating the Corner Shower and Laundry has been a long one, far longer than either Ray or Goldsmith expected. They have been working toward their goal for nearly five years.

Despite the long and often frustrating process, the team has persisted and plans to open the facility later this year.

“It seemed like a relatively easy thing to do at the time,” said Goldsmith, who also works part time as a bookkeeper at her family business, Joe’s Army Navy, and as a freelance floral designer. “Meeting the homeless people we would be serving and seeing how eager they are for the shower and laundry to be complete has kept us going. They are as kind as can be and are just down on their luck.”

The main goal of the Corner Shower and Laundry, according to Goldsmith, is to provide a service almost everyone takes for granted and make it available to people who don’t have access to these services.

“You know how you feel when you get out of the shower; you feel refreshed and rejuvenated,” she said. “This isn’t going to change their world and it’s not going to change their lives overnight, but it’s an opportunity for them to feel human and that’s why I think it’s important.”

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  1. “Give a Fresh Start” concert
    Featuring Julie Beutel
    singer, guitarist and social justice activist

    Sat. September 14 7:00PM
    Beacon UU Congregation
    4230 Livernois Rd. Troy, Mi

    the Corner Shower and Laundry
    for guests of Manna Soup Kitchen

    Refreshments and conversation after concert!

    Tickets at door: $15 adults Kids $7
    Tickets & info at BeaconUUC
    4230 Livernois Rd.
    248-524-9339 or 248-318-9542

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