Extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to the underserved

November 13, 2018

GALVESTON — For more than 30 years, the ministry responsible for assisting the needs of the underserved homeless population in Galveston, is CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread. The organization provides a variety of support services to homeless men and women in a comfortable facility and works with other resources in the Gulf Coast Community to ensure all their needs are met.

Our Daily Bread is one of 60 ministries supported by the Diocesan Services Fund (DSF).

CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread is a part of the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare dedicated to extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, continuing the legacy of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word through the promotion of health and welfare to people in need. It is one of the six missions helping to facilitate that mission.

“We provide a variety of services for the underserved homeless population that walks through our doors on a daily basis,” said Angela Joseph, director of CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread. “Some of those services include two meals a day (breakfast and lunch) and counseling through partnerships like the ones we have with the Carole and Ronald Krist Samaritan Counseling Center (KSC) and Bay Area Council on Drugs & Alcohol. We also provide clean clothing and other personal hygiene products.”

Joseph said there has been a marked increase recently in the homeless population served. Currently, an average of 80 homeless individuals is served daily. Last year alone, the ministry saw a record 457 new clients and 10,416 individual encounters.

“We have ascertained that the most prevalent reasons for the spike in the population we serve are due to substance abuse and mental health issues, relocation for jobs that didn’t pan out, loss of jobs and the inability to become gainfully employed, and an inability to afford basic living expenses,” Joseph said.

Currently, CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread’s staff includes five full-time employees and more than 30 regular volunteers. One employee that has found a deep sense of satisfaction in her work with the ministry is Ashley Montalvo Estrada, who believes she has found a calling to champion the underserved in sometimes the smallest, but most important of ways.
“I worked in pain management, nephrology and primary care before coming to CHRISTUS,” Estrada said. “Here, I do everything from giving medication to giving out hygiene products, but most of all, I help them process, simply by talking to them.”

Estrada is one of the graceful souls behind the scenes of the program that make it all come together for the benefit of the client population.

“Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field,” said Estrada. “Witnessing someone at rock bottom and helping them soar to a better future has to be the best feeling in the world. It takes a special person to be a medical advocate for some of the most vulnerable members of our community, and I know that I am one of those special people.”

One of her clients at CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread, Mr. Reece, said he was grateful for staff members like Estrada that do more than their job every day to show how much they care.

“I would tell anyone out here on the corner to get down on their knees and thank Jesus for people like the ones here at Our Daily Bread toward helping us,” said Reece. “The streets are a dangerous place and Our Daily Bread is the best refuge. Our Daily Bread taught me to look toward a good life and that is exactly what I plan on doing — living a good life.”

To help support CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread, Joseph said the ministry is always in need of volunteers who are interested in serving the homeless population in a variety of ways at the facility. People are placed in positions according to their interest and skill set.

As a ministry supported by DSF, an additional way to help the growing homeless population served at CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread is to contribute to this annual giving program.

“Supporting the DSF fosters the Catholic faith by helping the sick, underserved, poor and more,” Joseph said. “Any resource that provides assistance for those less fortunate, underserved, or who have an inability to support themselves in these tough economic times, is crucially important.”