Jubilee House gives hope to the homeless

Connie Riopelle
Interim Director, Jubilee House

Jubilee HouseHe was about 50, a little gray, a little bald, walking with a slouch, wearing a large backpack and windbreaker, and he was dirty when he entered Jubilee House.   He very meekly said he couldn’t pay anything but had been told to go to Jubilee House for help.  After a welcome tour, we got a coffee and talked about what help we could provide.

He shared that he had only been in Traverse a few months. He came to get a new start after an ugly divorce. With skills in the food industry, he found work, an apartment, and thought all was well. Two months later, the new business owner said he was a “seasonal worker” and released him; he then lost his apartment, ran out of money to pay the state park camp fee and was on the street with only his backpack.

As the morning progressed, Archie (not real name) signed up to wash his clothes, got a hot shower and shave, had more coffee and soup, spent time on the computer filling out job applications, and signed up for a tote to store his work clothes. Thankfully our donated clothing provided him with a winter jacket, sweater, and warm socks.

Three hours later when Archie was leaving he had a big smile and a big thank you for the volunteers. He was clean, warm, had a place to store his work clothes, and best of all he said “I now have hope and want to keep living!”

It isn’t magic, it is following our directive in Mathew 25:35 … “feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the imprisoned.”

There are about 30 volunteers who staff Jubilee week days and sometimes, on weekends when the weather is below 10 degrees. We work in teams of three to four people; one day per week from 9:45 am to 2:30 pm. No one is paid money; we get paid with smiles and hugs from our guests who find some hope and a reason to keep moving forward into life. Recognizing each individual who enters the house as one of God’s creations and working to provide the daily living needs and give the respect we all desire is our mission.

Support received from members of Grace Church and the community at large allows this ministry, this House, to function. Your generous donations have allowed us to renovate our space, providing for the handicapped and allowing more space to interact with our guests. THANK YOU!!

However, we also need continued support for daily operations and supplies.   Your support can be with prayer, cash, or time as a volunteer or all of the options listed. You won’t be limited. Talk to a volunteer or me and we will find a place to use your offer of help.

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