Recently, a case manager stopped by to visit a long-time friend in need. The woman and her husband had lived on the streets in our community for many years before making it back into permanent housing.
Getting back indoors made a tremendous difference in their stability. They began to address their disabilities, learned valuable life skills and even increased their income. Although they eventually became independent, they still remained an important part of the community our collaboration of churches has cultivated.
In fact, the very reason the case manager was visiting that day was to take this woman for a training in newest ministry our collaboration of churches have coordinated, the community cafe. After several months of working in the kitchen of this full-service, pay what you can restaurant, she wrote a letter saying the following:
“Before I started working in the cafe, I was a very anxious person.I never dreamed that I could do anything outside my house. I had horrible personal relationship skills and very little self-confidence.This program has helped me by providing a safe place for people such as myself to learn new skills, work on obstacles that hinder us from everyday life and grow.”
This story was possible last year because our churches have mobilized time, resources and shared experiences through a community café. In just over a year of operation, this ministry has become a vital source of food, dignity, and training for those living through homelessness. Every day the café is open, more than 200 hungry people are fed with a meal, menu choices and restaurant-quality service. Twenty-one people have received food service training through this ministry in the last year and countless others have found purpose in volunteering their time.