Ever since she was a student at Rockledge Elementary in Bowie, Md., Omolayo Adebayo has always had the desire to give back to those in need. Now, 32, Adebayo the Bowie woman does that and more through her nonprofit organization, the Neighborhood Well.

Founded in 2017, the organization has sought to meet needs of the unhoused and others. Adebayo and her team started out by giving “Blessing Bags,” bundles of food, toiletries and other resources, while also offering support through talking and praying with those in the surrounding Hyattsville community.

Now the organization has expanded its services by launching a mobile shower program that provides a place for neighbors to groom themselves in private if they’re struggling to find permanent housing.

“We’re serving with an open mind and an open heart to whomever, wherever they are mentally and physically because that is the approach that Jesus Christ takes with us. He meets us where we are and loves us from there,” Adebayo said.

The Neighborhood Well raised $50,000 to get the program off the ground to cover the cost of the trailer, licensing and permits, shower maintenance and Blessing Bags.

Ellen Wedge, 62, a native Washingtonian who heads the organization’s fundraising committee, has organized paint and sips, an online donation hub, an annual banquet and more to help to fund the launch of the mobile shower program. Ultimately, a $10,000 grant from Maryland’s Nonprofit Recovery Initiative helped the group reach its $50,000 goal.

The mobile shower trailer launched last month contains two individual stalls with a shower, sink and toilet. Every second and fourth Saturday of the month through March of 2022, the trailer will be available for use in the parking lot of First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville for 30 people.

“Our name is a constant remainder that the people that we serve are our neighbors and the people who volunteer are our neighbors and the effort that we’re doing is a community and neighborhood effort that anyone would do in their own neighborhood, their own community of people that they care about,” Adebayo said.

She credits her parents with providing an early example of what selfless giving is. She recalled the joy that she felt going to the store around Christmastime to pick out gifts for recipients of the Angel Tree program, which provides holiday presents for children in need.

“Me and my brother would go and pick out the gift for the Angel Tree recipient. With my parents, I saw their interaction with our family and their friends and how they both just had a very giving spirit, ” she said. “Being in a household full of that was of great influence to me. ”

Adebayo’s mother, Camille Adebayo, retired from her job as a production manager for the Government Accountability Office, serves as executive secretary of her daughter’s organization.

“To God be the glory that this was able to take off and get to the point where we are at,” she said.

After she and her mother attended a women’s conference in 2016, the theme of which was based upon the biblical teachings of John 4, the story of the woman at the well, Omolayo felt guided to start the Neighborhood Well. In this biblical account, a Samaritan woman met Jesus, a Jewish man, at a well. Jews and Samaritans avoided interacting with one another, but Jesus began to talk to the woman, who was considered an outcast. After the conversation, she believed that Jesus was the Messiah and brought other Samaritans to speak with him, which Jesus’s disciples did not agree with.

“Sometimes our unhoused neighbors are looked at as outcasts or that it’s ‘us versus them’. Just getting that imagery of two people that seemingly come from two different worlds talking and Jesus pouring into her and her being able to take that and pour into other people from that experience. That is where the well was birthed from,” Adebayo explained.

While the Neighborhood Well does provide the people it serves with necessities and other resources, Adebayo finds that this isn’t the most affecting thing the organization gives. Sometimes, her “neighbors” just need someone to listen and talk to them.

“Yes, we give toiletries, we give those tangible things, but I think that just really having a conversation and saying, ‘Hey, we’re here. How are you?’ with a big smile on our faces and being genuinely welcoming to the people that we encounter and that we are serving. I think that is our biggest impact.”

Adebayo hopes to expand the mobile shower program. Her goals are to provide additional locations for the programs with multiple sites at one time, to get ADA-accessible trailers and to eventually provide laundry services as well.

“Anyone, regardless of your circumstances, if you come across a kind person that sometimes can have the biggest impact on your day. That’s what we try to do. Whatever we do, we’re doing it in kindness and love.”