LavaMae - Mobile Showers 2013

At Lava Mae, we believe that everyone has the right to be clean so we're launching a mobile shower service for the homeless.
Doniece Sandoval
Identity Verified
San Francisco, California
United States
3 Team Members

We're Back and We Want Another Bus!!

 Click Here to Visit Our 2nd Indiegogo Campaign


Most of us take for granted it’ll be there whenever we want it. But for San Francisco’s homeless, getting clean is a challenge. Here’s why:

  • There are only 8 places in the city offering showers for the homeless.
  • Most are centrally located making it difficult for those who make their homes in other parts of the city to access.
  • With 1-2 shower stalls at best in each facility that translates into 16 showers for the 3,000+ men, women and children living on the city’s streets.

    The U.N. and the World Health Organization define access to water and sanitation as a basic human right. Yet many San Franciscans go without.

    My God, go three days without a shower. Just three days. Pretty soon, you just feel like a worm, a social worm.

    — Don Suiter, a homeless San Franciscan

    Lava Mae believes that everyone has the right to be clean. That’s why we’re launching mobile showers and toilets for San Francisco’s homeless.





    Inspired by the mobile food movement, Lava Mae is putting showers and toilets on wheels. Thanks to the city’s generous donation, we’ll be transforming decommissioned MUNI buses into fully functioning shower and sanitation services that will allow us to reach the thousands of men, women and children who struggle to find access to either.

    The buses will be gutted and retrofitted with two showers — each with its own private changing area — and two toilets. The bus will be driven by volunteer bus drivers and will traverse the city making stops at partner organizations serving the homeless. Our goal is to provide 100 - 125 showers per bus per day. In our third year, we’ll have a total of 4 buses providing 400 – 500 showers every day.

    Upon hitting the streets of San Francisco, Lava Mae will:

    • Expand and increase access to the number of showers for the city’s homeless.
    • Collaborate with our partners by adding to their services while leveraging their expertise working with the homeless.
    • Seed opportunity: with hygiene comes dignity and with dignity, opportunity.  

    And this is our timeline for getting out there:

    But before we can do any of this, we have to retrofit our first bus at the cost of $75,000.

    We need your help to do it. If you believe that everyone has a right to be clean, donate NOW. Be part of an innovative solution to give our homeless the fresh start they need, one shower at a time.

    Where will your money go?

    The entire $75,000 will be used to retrofit the bus. That means: gutting it, building in 2 private showers, changing stations and 2 toilets, buying on-demand water heaters, creating ventilation, updating the electrical system, and adding in water drainage. The funds will also allow us to explore and adopt sustainable solutions such as solar power and gray water recycling. 

    The complete budget looks like this:


    How will the bus look?

    Kind of like this (but bigger):

    Lava Mae bus


    Doniece Sandoval / Creator

    Doniece has orchestrated marketing, PR and development for both private and nonprofit organizations. Her passion is finding unique solutions to problems that matter to her. Homelessness has been on her radar for quite some time but she was at a loss as to how to truly help—until she passed a young woman on the street crying over and over that she’d never be clean. Lava Mae is Doniece’s answer.

    Brett Terpeluk / Architect

    Brett is the principle and founder of StudioTerpeluk and designs small to medium scale residential and commercial projects as well as exhibits and furniture. Brett worked for over ten years with Italian architect Renzo Piano in Genoa, Italy, and San Francisco, CA. He was lead architect for Piano on the California Academy of Sciences, the largest LEED Platinum Museum in the World.

    Danielle Siembieda / Community Engagement

    Danielle is a master of digital engagement including social media, community building, geo-locative technology, app development, guerilla marketing and urban game design. She has created campaigns for ground breaking organizations including Leonardo/ISAST, ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network and The Triangle Lab (A project by California Shakespeare Theater and Intersection for the Arts).

    Trish Richman / Identity Sheriff

    Trish is a creative/art director specializing in branding and product development.
    She has worked with top American brands and retailers creating useful and beautiful products for the home. Currently, she is leading the creative for a San Francisco start up and wears all the design hats there - brand, print, web, marketing and app design.
    When she heard about Lava Mae and met with Doniece, she knew she had to be involved in this essential project.

    What’s in it for you?

    • First and foremost, the knowledge that you’re powering an innovative solution to a serious social problem
    • Warm fuzzy feelings that come from making it possible for someone to reconnect with their dignity and this basic human right
    • Tax deductible contribution – we have fiscal sponsorship from ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network, a 501(c)(3) that brings art and technology together to shape the future
    • Cool perks
    Find This Campaign On
    raised by 634 people in 1 month
    78% funded
    No time left
    Verified Nonprofit
    $75,000 USD goal
    Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
    Campaign Closed
    This campaign ended on October 6, 2013
    Select a Perk
    • $10USD
      Twitter (Shower) Shoutout

      We'll give you a shout out on Twitter to let everyone know you're helping us move one step closer to our goal of creating more showers and sanitation for San Francisco's homeless. You're amazing!

      77 claimed
    • $25USD
      A Shower of Gratitude

      You're providing enough money to power one whole day of showers. That's 100 showers. You rock! You'll also get a heartfelt email from the founder of Lava Mae thanking you for your kindness.

      129 claimed
    • $50USD
      Shower Hall of Fame

      Join the pantheon of amazing people who are making it possible to provide showers to a family of 4 for 25 days. Send us a photo so we can proudly display your fabulous mug on our website and publicly thank you for being such a rock star donor!

      53 claimed
    • $100USD
      Bubble Launch Party

      Your $100 gift will power four whole days of showers. That's 400 showers! To thank you, you and one guest will be invited to our exclusive launch party complete with bubbles, bubbly, music, tasty treats and fun giveaways. Not in the city? Join the party online to add your bubbly style to the mix!

      86 claimed
    • $250USD
      eShower Showcase

      A $250 gift makes it possible for 20 people to shower everyday for 125 days! Let us tell everyone connected to Lava Mae how fabulous you are: you and all our $250 donors will be showcased in a special Lava Mae e-News feature.

      9 claimed
    • $500USD
      Clean Queen / King for a Day

      You've seen the electronic signs on the front of metro buses that announce the route; now your name will occupy that space. It's 24-hours of gratitude from team Lava Mae for your generous contribution, which by the way, provides 6 months of soap, shampoo and conditioner. Whoo hoo!

      10 claimed
    • $1,000USD
      Limited Edition Print

      This is your chance to own a limited edition print of the Lava Mae bus created by San Francisco print maker and painter, Eric Rewitzer. And while enjoying your fabulous new work of art, give yourself props for supplying us with a year's worth of soap, shampoo and conditioner!

      3 claimed
      Estimated delivery: September 2013
    • $5,000USD
      Legacy of Gratitude

      Your name or your organization's logo will live on the back of the Lava Mae bus for the life of the vinyl bus wrap (which could last up to 3 years!). Bask in the warm glow that comes from providing three years worth of bath products and 2+ years and half worth of showers for 160 people

      1 out of 5 claimed
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