Lava Mae – Empowering the Homeless Community

eChievement Award winner Doniece Sandoval - Lava Mae

Doniece Sandoval describes herself as an ‘idea person’. As a young adult, she worked in the corporate world in San Francisco and soon after headed to New York City to continue her work in that arena for a few years more. After 9-11 though, Doniece decided to make a fresh start. When she moved back to San Francisco, she couldn’t help but notice that there were considerably more homeless people than there’d been when she lived there just a few years previously. One day she passed a crying homeless woman who was talking out loud to no one in particular. The woman was unkempt and disheveled, and kept repeating a phrase that made a deep impression on Doniece, eventually giving her an idea that would end helping an impressive number of homeless individuals to keep their dignity and, in many cases, their jobs.

How Lava Mae Was Born

It started with one woman, homeless in San Francisco, crying that she would never be clean.

Founder, Doniece Sandoval heard her cries. Those words, a desire to help those experiencing homelessness, and a crazy obsession with the mobile food truck movement set in motion what eventually became Lava Mae.

Driven by a fierce belief that everyone has a right to dignity and the knowledge that access to showers and sanitation are in serious short supply for the homeless, Doniece was compelled to start Lava Mae. Started by private citizens who believe that access to showers and toilets shouldn’t be a luxury, Lava Mae seeks to serve those who lack access to what should be basic human rights – showers and sanitation.

Doniece has orchestrated marketing, PR and development for both private and nonprofit organizations including ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network, San Jose Museum of Art, Wilson McHenry Company, Informix, DoubleClick,, McGuire & Company for Coca Cola and ACA Joe among others. 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. Lava Mae is Doniece’s answer.

Contact Information

Address: 3543 18th St, Ste 24, San Francisco, CA
Phone: (415) 633-4395

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