Question: What do you like most about your job?
Answer: The fact that we have no red tape. We are free to do for the poor what the poor need.
From an interview with Sr. Mary Elizabeth Gintling, founder of the Joseph House.
With the support of our donors, we can respond to the needs, both large and small, of many people.
During 2017, we responded to 1,478 requests for financial assistance at the Crisis Center. Roughly 30 individuals and families received help each week.
We issued checks to stop evictions, pay security deposits on new rentals, pay overdue electric, gas, and water bills (often restoring services that had been cut off), and purchase heating oil and propane. When shelters were full we paid for motel rooms for families in danger of becoming homeless. Our funds were also used to buy prescription medications and medical devices, emergency dental work, mattresses and bed frames, appliances, and bus tickets. We always consider any request as long as the need can be demonstrated.
Here are some other figures:
Average number of households receiving food from our Pantry per month: 596
Of the people receiving food, percentage who are children: 37
Number of bags of groceries distributed: 14,298
Number of meals served in our Soup Kitchen: 11,544
The Hospitality Room provided services nearly five thousand times during 2017. These services include meals, showers, and laundry for homeless men and women.
At Christmas, 722 children received a bag of gifts. Each bag included a large toy, a smaller one, a book, an activity (puzzle, coloring book, etc.), stocking stuffers, and cold weather gear (hats, gloves, scarves). We gave seven new bicycles to especially needy families. In addition, 298 new winter coats were distributed.
These numbers reflect the hard work, sacrifices, and generosity of many people. When we decide to put love of neighbor into action, we make a difference!
There are stories behind every number, stories of people facing misfortune and looking for hope. Here are a three that illustrate the type of situations where we intervene:
Rosalind is 70 and recovering from a slight stroke. She is also a cancer patient and must use bottled oxygen continuously. A recent medical test indicated the cancer may have spread to her lymph nodes. Rosalind is waiting to hear from her doctor about treatment methods.
An electric cut-off notice brought Rosalind to the Joseph House. She is behind in making payments because of her many out-of-pocket medical bills. Her husband, who had been out of work, is looking for a job to supplement their Social Security. The Joseph House sent $300 to the electric company.
Jermaine, 47, and his wife are refugees from Haiti. They have three children, including a newborn son. Jermaine works in a chicken factory. He is anxious to move his family to a safer neighborhood, away from the street corner drug deals. Jermaine also believes his current apartment has lead paint. Moving to a new place requires a deposit plus the first month’s rent paid in advance. Jermaine’s day-to-day bills make it difficult to come up with these extra funds. The Joseph House paid $170 to help Jermaine and his family move to a new location that is better for family life.
Adelia, 57, is homebound and in poor health. A monthly disability check provides her income. She called the Crisis Center with a desperate plea: her house was freezing inside. There was something wrong with the heating system, but Adelia didn’t know what. With the outside temperature down to the single digits, our staff acted quickly. A repair company was called and a truck dispatched to Adelia’s house. They discovered the heat pump was clogged with ice. Repairs were made and the Joseph House paid the bill of $160.
At the Joseph House Workshop, our donors allow us to provide a safe and healthy environment for up to eight homeless men. The men are given the time and assistance they need to get job training, address personal growth and health issues, and begin steady employment. Here is a testimony from Jason, who participated in the Joseph House Workshop:
Before I came to the Joseph House, I didn’t believe that a program like this one existed. I had gotten clean but couldn’t get on my feet; I needed a fresh start. Everywhere I looked either turned me away or I didn’t have enough money, or they didn’t have room for me.
You Sisters have been the exact opposite, because of your ‘intense love’ (1 Peter 4:8). I feel like family here. I have received so much more than I expected, or even deserve. . . . You have shown me there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much.