Now, through the cooperation of the United Way of Greater Kingsport and Shades of Grace United Methodist Church, that’s going to be a little more convenient for folks who work, live and visit downtown.
Five-hand washing stations have been set up in downtown Kingsport for public use. Two are located at Shades of Grace (on Sullivan Street), one at Glen Bruce Park, another at the Salvation Army and the fifth at Hunger First.
“I’m excited that we are able to come together to bring these public hand-washing stations to Kingsport,” said Jonathan Anderson, homeless services liaison for the United Way of Greater Kingsport and the city. “This is very important for the population of Kingsport who spend a large portion of their days at or near these public spaces.”
The portable stations are gray and stand nearly 5 feet tall. Each one has four sinks and four soap dispensers. To use them, all you have to do is press a foot pump to release the water. Wash, rinse and repeat.
All of the stations are jointly funded by the United Way and Shades of Grace. Both organizations have pledged to keep the stations in the downtown area for at least the next two months.
Will Shewey, the pastor of Shades of Grace, said if the stations are still available for rent after the two months, his church plans to keep the two at its location as long as the pandemic is in effect.
“The work of the church is eternal and it never sleeps,” Shewey said. “This could be a positive time for all people of faith because often we gather together in our own little groups. Now, we’re forced to get outside and let our light shine in many different places ... to be a good witness with the church in the world in general.”
According to the CDC, there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Suggested ways to protect yourself from the virus include regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before, during and/or after spending time in a public area.