Traveling outreach offers hot showers, hand washing stations to homeless veterans

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A traveling Fayetteville outreach is deploying all its resources to ensure homeless and low-income veterans have the tools necessary to stay healthy.

Off-Road Outreach made a stop outside the Veterans Empowering Veterans center on Thursday afternoon to bring some hygienic supplies and install a hand-washing station.

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Stacey Buckner is the founder of Off-Road Outreach. She came up with the idea of a traveling shower after handing out bath-wash supplies to people who were homeless and having those people tell her they had nowhere to use it.

"I already had a shower on my jeep, and I feel like God just said, 'Hey Stacey, you have a shower on your Jeep, you know, you can go to them,' and that's kind of how off-road outreach began," Buckner added.

In the last three years, Buckner, with the help of volunteers and donors, has offered up this free resource around homeless encampments in the Cumberland County area.

In addition, she's installed more than eight handwashing stations around the city, with more on the way.

She says the current COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting an area of homeless that's sorely neglected: providing adequate hygienic resources.

"Housing is a part of health care. Hygiene resources is a part of healthcare because it does depend, your health depends on my health," Buckner.

Buckner's had family who served in the military and currently works at the Veterans Affairs in Fayetteville, so she says she understands the need that's out there in the community.
Bandele Codrington, an Army Veteran who's been without a job for years, has been coming to the VEV center and also utilizing the resources offered by Buckner.

"It means the world to a lot of people, and it does mean very well to me," Codrington said.

Because of injuries suffered while serving in the 70s and 80s, Codrington is not able to work. Thankfully, he's been able to live with some friends in the city; but he adds events like this help him socialize with others at a safe distance, of course.

"Nice to talk to somebody, but I don't want to be on top of nobody," Codrington added.

Jereme Dozier is the CEO of Axios Investigations Firm, LLC, a veteran-owned and operated investigations and security consulting agency. Dozier's been a part of Buckner's mission for some time, even providing the funds needed to purchase the portable handwashing stations.

He says this kind of outreach is desperately needed across all communities, because it brings "a little bit of light, a little bit of dignity. For that brief moment, like a touch of humanity, and Stacey brings that with the jeep".
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