Rebuilding the lives of Galveston’s homeless communities through the healing love of Jesus
March 8, 2022
Faithful CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread Volunteers and a CHRISTUS team member joyfully prepare and serve meals to the hungry and homeless in Galveston each day. (Photo courtesy of Our Daily Bread)
GALVESTON — Improving the lives of homeless individuals in Galveston involves more than giving them access to three meals a day, mental health counseling, medical services, clothing and other social services.
These efforts are made stronger when built upon Christ’s healing foundation of love provided day in and day out by the staff and volunteers at a local ministry, CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread.
With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to homeless men and women in Galveston, CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread works in partnership with other resources in the Gulf Coast community to provide guidance and structure to help clients develop a plan of action to break the cycles of addiction and despair.
According to the Texas Homeless Network’s report for 2020, nearly 400 individuals experienced homelessness in Galveston County, 26% without shelter. In the fiscal year 2021, CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread experienced 16,381 encounters from this homeless population, serving approximately 100 individual clients each week.
Angela Joseph, director of CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread, believes these numbers will continue to rise.
“What is clear is that an increase in those served during the pandemic and continues today are mostly due to individuals that worked in the service industry and were unable to work and support or maintain their households,” said Joseph. “Because many of our clients are on Galveston Housing Authority’s waiting list or working with other social service agencies that offer rapid rehousing programs, we have had a rise in the need for some of our services, including our assistance with document recovery of birth certificates, Social Security cards, and state-issued identification.”
This is the case of John, a homeless client of CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread for the past four years. He needed the document recovery service to apply for housing to one day become self-sufficient.
He also suffered from mental illness and was unmedicated because he said the meds made him feel bad when he took them. He often stayed at the Salvation Army shelter, but his diminishing mental state caused him to leave and live on the street.
Because of this, John sometimes did not come to CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread and further delayed getting the services he needed. Through the loving and dedicated efforts of the ministry’s staff and volunteers, John was able to get the required documents and other needed social services to help get him back on his feet.
“Our Daily Bread helped me with meals, referrals and clothing,” said John. “They also replaced my birth certificate and ID, something I was unable to do for many years. They also helped me with medical care.”
CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread is one of over 60 ministries supported by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s annual Diocesan Services Fund (DSF) that bring much-needed help to clients like John.
“Supporting the annual DSF allows CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread to continue providing life-changing services to those who need a hand up, with dignity and respect,” said Joseph.
Currently, CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread receives DSF funding for the purchase of disposable goods necessary for to-go meals, a service that was adopted as a result of the pandemic.
If additional funding was available through the DSF, Joseph said the ministry would like to provide transportation services for clients, especially those with disabilities, that require travel to make their appointments.
She said an additional $1,500 annually from DSF would allow the ministry to provide gas cards, purchase bus tokens for local travel, and assist with transportation on and off the island, assisting 50 to 75 clients monthly.
“One example of clients with transportation needs are those that need a replacement social security card but are unable to obtain acceptable supporting documents for backup,” said Joseph. “These requests require an in-person appointment at the League City office. In this case, a ride share service would allow the client to make the appointment.”
Joseph said another transportation need is for those clients that receive medical care from a local clinic or at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston but are physically unable to walk and suffer through the pain. Those that are wheelchair-bound would definitely benefit from the transportation services, also.
For more information about how to assist CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread, with their efforts to help the homeless by giving to the 2022 Annual DSF Appeal, visit www.archgh.org/dsf.
The DSF supports over 60 ministries, whether direct service or education, that require this critical funding to remain in operation. Out of each gift given to DSF, 100% of every dollar goes directly to supporting these ministries.