Mission Nonprofit Spotlight: Build A Bus Home

Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Robert Kam sat down with Lisa Gillotti, founder and executive director of Build A Bus Home, and board members Peter Cook and Larry Pederson.

Since 2018, Build A Bus Home has been working in Thurston County to create solutions to give residents basic human needs. A team of volunteers is at the core of their work. Lisa Gillotti started the nonprofit with just a $1.76. “We had a vision to bring homes to low-income individuals in Thurston County,” she explains. “People like myself that needed a place to live where they could be mobile, that they could maybe live in a park together.”

$1.37 of that went to buying the buildabushome.org domain name. Since then, it has grown into an organization that converts buses into homes for low-income residents of Thurston County as well as helping meet other basic human needs, especially hygiene.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, hygiene needs moved to the forefront and they began concentrating on their Clean Up Bus & Shower Trailer (CUBSS) program that began in 2019. “Right now, we’re partnering with several church organizations to bring this much needed service to the community,” She says. “People are coming in and are so excited to be there. And what we want to do is to create a community of people coming together, learning about the different agencies around town, getting different services all in one place, so that’s the overall goal.”

Due to COVID-19, they have converted half of the showers into changing areas, to keep the 6-foot social distancing protocol. Everything is cleaned between each use with soap and water and Briotech, which inactivates COVID-19. Briotech, a company in Woodland, Washington, provides their products for free.

“When you think about the social and economic impacts of not being able to shower; if a person has a job interview, I mean how would you feel, how would I feel, going to a job interview un-showered?” says Larry. “A rental application, a rental interview, even purchasing products or applying for services? I personally don’t feel good if I have to make public appearances when I haven’t showered. So put people in that position and It just has broader implications on health to make life just a bit easier to have showers available to them.”

It takes a lot of help from cities, the county, churches and volunteers to get the shower trailer set up and ready for use. Both Evergreen Christian Community and the Unity Church of Olympia have partnered with Build A Bus to use their parking lots for the CUBSS program. Volunteers are always needed for the Build A Bus, in particular their shower trailer. You can fill out the form for volunteering on the Build A Bus website.

In addition to volunteers, they are always in need of funds to continue their work. Whether you are an individual, an organization or a business, every little bit helps. For more information, watch the full video and visit the Build A Bus Home website or call 360-890-3133.

You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thuston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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