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A Blessing for the Forgotten

Updated: Jun 4

Mercy Holistic Ministry Showers Reaches out to Homeless



SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – Pastor Berhanu Kumalo Didanu has known since he was a child what he was meant to do with his life. On January 6, 2021, he, his wife Miheret (Mercy) Bune, members of Sacramento based Mercy Holistic Ministry, and their Partners were present as the first mobile shower purchased to be used by the homeless in the Sacramento area debuted. The inaugural shower took place at Advent Lutheran Church in Citrus Heights as part of week one of the Citrus Heights Winter Warming program sponsored by Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART). David Leon Guerrero was the first guest and came out looking refreshed and happy.


Berhanu and his wife came to Sacramento from Ethiopia in 2008 and created Mercy Holistic Ministry to serve Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrant families find housing and settle into their new country. Since then, Berhanu has been ordained as a Missionary at Large at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Woodland, Calif. His education, natural heart for the needs of others, and experience since he was a teenager in Ethiopia makes this ministry a natural for him. The need for mobile showers was the overwhelming concern made known by Mercy’s clients to help restore their dignity and begin a change in their lives. The ministry, which relies on volunteers, also feeds and works with the homeless in the downtown Sacramento area. Until now their focus has been mainly on providing food, clothing and other necessities to their clients. With the addition of the showers their dream of serving the homeless in a much more meaningful and permanent way has finally been realized.


Their long-term goal is to be at a different location throughout the county once a week and to serve 30-40 guests a day. Mercy Holistic Showers is actively seeking partner churches. Hosts are asked to provide a place to park the showers and furnish electricity and a water connection. The trailer provides two individual showers with sink and toilet. Recycled water drains into the sewer. Ideally, hosts also provide clothing, food and other services such as barbers and doctors. Mercy provides each client with clean underwear, socks and toiletries and has access to an experienced counselor. This type of partnership is working well in the San Fernando Valley and Santa Barbara areas.


Funding for the shower has come from many sources, from GoFundMe accounts to major grants. Funds available following the closing of a church provided $55,000—enough for the purchase of a towing truck and to hire a person to keep the showers sanitized.

David Kretzmann, Mercy board member, said in an email, “We have been fortunate to receive $75,000 in grants, $10,000 each from Lutheran Development Society, and from Town and Country Lutheran Church’s endowment fund. We have raised approximately $10,000 through events and generous friends of Mercy Holistic thus far.”


Their approach is simple. In the words of Kretzmann, “It is important to all Mercy Holistic Board members to restore dignity to the homeless. By getting clean and restoring dignity a person can be encouraged and given hope for the future. Through the use of a simple refreshing shower a person can be encouraged to take new steps toward self-sufficiency. Looking for work and eventually becoming housed is the goal. Every homeless person is a mother’s child and looks for love and understanding. We at Mercy want to encourage people by sharing God’s love for all.”


The official grand opening of Mercy Holistic Showers is Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Celtic Cross Church in Citrus Heights.


For more information on events and the organization visit www.mercyholistic.org.

Churches and other organizations interested in partnering with Mercy Holistic Showers should contact Mercy Board Chairman Dave Kretzmann at 916-482-6439 or dckretzmann@gmail.com.

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