Clients help themselves to food at Joseph’s House, a ministry to the homeless in Camden.
David came to the Café in February. His story was not unfamiliar to us here at Joseph’s House, a ministry of St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral, Camden, that serves the homeless.
David had been laid off several months before and used his savings to pay rent while looking for another job.
He wasn’t dealing with any mental health or substance abuse issues; rather, he was struggling to survive in these difficult economic times.
David wasn’t only looking for a place to stay, he also needed a place to store his personal things. His savings were gone and his landlord had given him notice that he’d have to leave. He couldn’t afford public storage, so he asked could we store his things for him.
We were able to find some warehouse space at no charge and helped David move his things into the warehouse. We piled them on an old piece of plywood and covered them with a tarp. David stayed nights with us at the Café and spent the daytime hours looking for work.
I spoke with David Oct. 9. He’s employed now and has been for the past six months. He’s also got a place to live now and has arranged for a truck to move his things out of the warehouse. He called just to say thanks, to bring me up to speed on how he’s doing and to ask if he can volunteer at the Café this winter. He’d like to give back.
I’m grateful we were there to bridge a gap for David and grateful others will get to meet him, hear his story and come to know that together we can make a difference, one person at a time.
Joseph’s House is preparing to open its Café for the third winter season. By all accounts this winter will be particularly cold and snowy and the need will be greater than ever. The Café is open seven nights a week 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is free of charge. There, people struggling with homelessness, men and women like David, will find warmth, a simple meal, plenty of coffee and tea, and a compassionate staff ready to welcome them as guests in our home.
The Café Program is funded by donations, foundation grants and some public funding. For further information about Joseph’s House, call John Klein at 856-964-9777 ext. 606 or visit their website at www.josephshouseofcamden.org. Volunteers are needed and welcome. Donations can be made payable to Joseph’s House and mailed to 20 Church Street, Camden, NJ 08105.
John Klein is executive director of Joseph’s House.