Local charity featured on NBC game show - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Local charity featured on NBC game show

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It's the simple things in life that sometimes we take for granted, like a clean shave or a clean shower.

A Riviera Beach-based charity has been raising the spirits of our most vulnerable population in Palm Beach County, giving free showers and hygiene supplies to the homeless. And now, the cause has caught the attention of NBC.

"The Wall" game show selected Palm Beach County locals Chris Bentley and his sister for their work in our community.

Last year, Bentley founded Live Fresh, the first charity service of its kind in Palm Beach County. It's a mobile unit complete with six restrooms that brings free showers and hygiene supplies to homeless across the area.

"To have the stresses of the day kind of weigh on you. And then to not have the ability to wash that off," Bentley said in an interview with WPTV's Alanna Quillen during a free hygiene event at St. George Episcopal Church in Riviera Beach on Thursday.

And this could mean the difference between a new job or a getting into a shelter for a place to sleep for thousands across the area.

Freddie Cooper is one of hundreds who benefit from Live Fresh every single week. He has been without a home for about three years.

"We do things like everybody else do. We just don't have a home," he said.

Cooper said times have been tough since his wife died. His grief led him to the streets.

"She had an illness of breast cancer and it got caught too late," he said. "It took me a while to get over her death. It took me a while but I'm OK now. I'm myself now."

On Thursday, a simple shower and a clean shave was all it took to make him smile.

"It feels good, makes me look good. I feel good!" he said with a laugh.

Bentley said he came up with idea while going to school in New York City.

"I was able to come across a lot of people who were in a very very bad place," he said.

After receiving a grant for $100,000 from Impact of the Palm Beaches, Bentley launched Live Fresh in March 2016. The non-profit has expanded to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, with hopes to spread across the country. It's even been feature in the Huffington Post and People.

"When I'm in a bad place and I'm not feeling my best, the first thing I do is take a shower, shave and put on a nice shirt. So that when I look in the mirror, I like the person I see on the other end," he said. "For us, it was that simple. How do we bring that concept to the homeless community?"

Complete with a generator and water tanks, Bentley drives this mobile hygiene unit to neighborhoods in need.

"We fill in the gaps and are able to provide something those really really simple services like a bath," he said.

After grabbing a free hygiene kit filled with the essentials like shampoo, toothpaste and sunscreen, clients can take as a long as they need to clean up.

"It's amazing to see a person come up feeling down and then as soon as they go in and take that shower and instantly as soon as they go in and take that shower, you see that smile on their face," said Bentley.

Bentley himself, with the help of volunteers, keeps all six units clean.

Cooper also gives back by volunteering to help Bentley clean and to assist with feedings at St. George Episcopal Church.

"It can be a blessing to me and to others to be able to help," he said. "We protect one another help one another, have a heart for one another."

It's this community effort that NBC's "The Wall" is highlighting tonight when Bentley competes to win money for his charity.

"Being able to have a large scale like NBC to showcase what we're doing, potentially get other communities around the country excited to help their homeless," he said.

Bentley said the experience with Live Fresh has also helped open his eyes to the wide effect homelessness has on the community. He's seen many youth and homeless single mothers visiting his mobile hygiene unit.

"Youth homelessness is really big, it's a lot bigger than I thought," he said. "We go to school as young people and we think that the person sitting next to us -- they live the same life that we live. But there are many children in the county that are on the street."

Right now, they are in need of donations of Clothes deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and other hygiene products. To donate, just visit www.livefreshinc.org.

Bentley's episode on "The Wall", featured his charity Thursday night on NBC.

Scripps Only Content 2017

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