Twitter | @imTerenceLester

Man Brings Homeless People Hand Washing Stations: 'They Are Just As Concerned'

A former homeless man has made it his mission to deliver hand washing stations to people living on the street who otherwise may not be able to protect themselves against the coronavirus outbreak, CNN reported.

Atlanta native Terence Lester, who found himself on those very same streets as a teenager, is now the executive director of the nonprofit Love Beyond Walls, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless.

He came up with the idea for providing the hand washing stations when COVID-19 updates were first being released.

Twitter | @imTerenceLester

"As the world was talking about sanitizing and washing your hands, I knew there was an entire community of people experiencing homelessness who couldn’t do any of those things," Lester told Good Morning America.

"I was trying to think of how they will survive," he explained. "How can they get through this when they can't even wash their hands? So, I decided to start there."

His solution came in the form of portable washbasins, which are typically sold for use in RVs and while camping.

Twitter | @imTerenceLester

Each sink features a foot pump and a soap dispenser, and can hold anywhere from 5 to 10 gallons of water at a time.

More than a dozen of these portable sinks have been set up all around Atlanta, and Lester said he and other Love Beyond Walls volunteers visit the units daily to clean and refill them. The nonprofit is currently raising money to add even more sinks to the city, as well as ship them across the state to other homeless communities.

Even before he finished assembling the very first hand washing station, Lester saw firsthand that his efforts were justified.

"Dimitry lives on the streets around our center, and he came up and asked if he could wash his hands," Lester told CNN. "He hadn't washed them yet because he hadn't had any water."

In a video shared to the organization's Twitter page, Dimitry uses the sink and explains, "You have to wash your hands. If you don't, you are going to get sick. If you touch anything, then wash your hands."

Lester has received lots of support from people in the Atlanta area, including Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Lecrae.

The performer and Reach Records have provided 15 new hand washing stations, and Lecrae even joined Lester to personally assemble them around Atlanta.

"People experiencing homelessness are just as concerned, if not more, about the issues at hand," Lecrae told GMA. "I'm just excited that we are able to ease some of their panics."

As the coronavirus continues its rapid spread through the country, homeless people find themselves at a greater risk for contracting the deadly disease.

Unsplash | Ev

According to the CDC, those individuals who sleep outside or in places not meant for human habitation "may be at risk for infection when there is community spread of COVID-19."

"Outdoor settings may allow people to increase distance between themselves and others. However, sleeping outdoors often does not provide protection from the environment, quick access to hygiene and sanitation facilities, or connection to healthcare."

Lester said he hopes his organization's hand washing efforts turn into a national campaign, so everyone has access to soap and water.

Twitter | @LoveBeyondWalls

"I hope this catches on and spreads across the country," he told CNN. "Even more than that, these sinks can spark the conversation of what else we can do to help the homeless facing this pandemic."

Information about the coronavirus pandemic is rapidly changing and Diply is committed to providing the most recent data as it becomes available. Some of the information in this story may have changed since publication, and we encourage readers to use online resources from CDC and WHO to stay up to date on the latest information surrounding COVID-19.

h/t: CNN, Good Morning America