How often can you find a job where you can get to know the people you serve and witness real results of donations, volunteers’ contributions and your work. This describes the real world of Mobile Loaves & Fishes. We are blessed with the ability to make a significant change in someone’s life and to work with wonderful, talented people. The greatest gift I’ve received from working for MLF is a completely different understanding and appreciation of the brothers and sisters living on the streets. Home — both the dwelling and the people — has always been very dear to me. I grew up in a career military home and later followed a corporate career. My brothers, sister, and I were blessed with parents who always made a loving home for us no matter where we were stationed. I always believed that everyone had the right to a decent home and I’m now blessed to be able to help our brothers and sisters of the street realize that right of a home.
I am so thrilled to be a part of the MLF Team! I never dreamed God would lead me here but thankfully He has. I believe strongly in helping all people, but especially those who could be described in the Bible as “needy” and “oppressed.” As a follower of Christ, not only do I feel called to serve others, but I also love it! So, to get to be a part of an organization that is helping and loving so many in our community is a true honor and privilege! AND, I know that God will teach and grow me along the way. My hope is to be used by Him and that His love, light and hope will be reflected through me. I can’t believe this is what I get to do for my “job”!
I came to Mobile Loaves & Fishes because I wanted to feel like I was making a difference when I come to work each day. Despite the technical nature of my job here, I am able to do work that touches people’s lives and relieves suffering in my fellow human beings. For more than ten years, I have been active in interfaith work in Austin, so I not only value the work MLF does socially but from a spiritual standpoint as well. Being a part of the MLF family has been an enormous blessing and I am truly fortunate to work in a loving environment with such passionate people.
I’ve always had an affinity for helping those in need. As a little girl, and until I went to college, I wanted to be a police officer. I then realized I wanted to be more personally involved with people than that would allow and searched for different avenues without finding my true calling. Eight years ago I began to notice a homeless man outside of my office every morning picking up trash that was not his and he always kept a nice appearance. I organized a drive at the office for him and was surprised when I brought him the goods that he wouldn’t take most of it. He said that there were others that needed it more than he. His respectful honesty really made me curious and needing to hear others’ stories, but my shyness held me back. One Labor Day shortly after, I fell ill with Viral Encephalitis, caused by a virus attacking my brain. After six months of recovery, escaping with my life and a newfound appreciation for it, I felt a real calling to go out into the streets to help and advocate for the homeless. I lost all shyness and dove straight in because I felt God had put me through a situation to see and understand what I needed to do. I was given a second chance at life; I need to make sure others get the same.
Working for MLF is perfect for me because I strongly feel that I need to “give something back”. Being homeless myself for a period of time, I ate from the food trucks as a matter of necessity, and it was there that I got the only dignity I knew at the time. I want to freely give the gifts of food, clothing, shelter, and most importantly, the promotion of dignity to our brothers and sisters who are in need. I feel that the most effective, efficient way to do this is by bringing my gifts to the table as a staff member at MLF.
Putting into practice the words of St. Francis, “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible” describes Mobile Loaves & Fishes with regards to what has been accomplished in its charitable history-to-date and what might yet be accomplished. Biblical scripture and Social Justice Teachings guide us to serve others with compassion and unconditional love. Ordained as a Roman Catholic Deacon of the Austin Catholic Diocese, I have been blessed to be part of Mobile Loaves & Fishes and through MLF there are daily rewarding opportunities to live as a Servant to others.
The thought of homeless people was a thought that was in the way back of my mind originally. I knew that it was a problem in our country that needed to be addressed, but it never hit with me on a level of active action. Then when I met with Alan and MLF I was introduced to the working ground floor of “action”. I knew that this was a great ministry that was serving the least of our people, but my thought of “action” was still misguided. I thought that it would be the the normal serving of homeless, giving them food, clothes, and shelter. And yes, we do this, but I found out that it is MUCH more than that. We are in the business of truly serving the least of God’s people in every since of the word “serve”. Not with the tangible material things, but with our whole hearts. I found myself in the middle of this homeless and home-full group of people that have transformed my perspective of this community. I got to know this group of people on a level that I did not know I was going to see. I found that our community is full of loving, caring, selfless, wonderful people that would help others before they would help themselves. This is the reason I have found myself personally growing in my view of seeing people for who they are and not just meaningless crap that I originally thought was important. I now have a new adopted family in the form of our ever growing community along with our incredible staff of people that are one of the most accepting and loving group of people I have ever encountered.
I’ve always felt that those we consider the “least” are actually the ones we should value the most. Some people have this notion in society that helping someone else in need benefits the one in need solely, but it actually benefits the giver as well. We grow more and more into reflecting the image of Christ by sharing His love and compassion.
MLF is a ministry and a mission for me. I’ve been a technology consultant for years and I believe, by using my gifts and talents here, technology can be a gateway to help change the hearts, minds, and conditions of people. We can change the world if we commit to helping indidviduals to maintain hope regardless of their situation. Whether it is in the form of a smile, a meal or simply a conversation, hope can cancel out despair. Mark 9:35
Before I started working for Mobile Loaves & Fishes, I had been unemployed for a year and a half. After about a year and four months our savings had depleted. By this time we had already learned to live without all the extras. A couple of months after, it was through the Holy Spirit that brought me to Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
As far as I can remember, my passion in life has been to help others. It doesn’t matter who they are, where they come from, their race, etc. Everyone is equal, someone may have a better education or make more money, but that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. We are all equal and we should help and lift our brothers and sisters in need. This is exactly what Mobile Loaves & Fishes is about and I thank God daily for allowing me to serve in this ministry.
My journey with Mobile Loaves & Fishes began in 2008 after hearing Alan talk to a group about an unconventional new way to house the homeless of Austin. The approach seemed implausible to me at the time. I’m sure I was offensive with one skeptical question after another. As a farmer, I was looking for down to earth ways for healing the ails of our society, but this Community First! thing seemed outside the realm of common sense. I couldn’t ignore the signs of it’s success, however, and over the course of the following year I found plenty. When I came up with a hairbrained scheme of my own, attempting to rally individuals living in poverty together using something like the common rhythms of a family farm, I knew just who to talk to about it. It’s been three years since Alan’s talk, and the evidence supporting MLF’s approach to homelessness and homemaking continues to mound around me. It continues to back up the vision Alan cast for this skeptical farmer. I’m so pleased he didn’t count my early doubts against me.
Katie is a CPA and a graduate from the PPA program at The University of Texas at Austin. After 12 years in public and private accounting, God opened the door in 2007 for Katie to join the Mobile Loaves & Fishes team as CFO and Business Administrator. Katie was humbled and overjoyed at the opportunity to be an integral part of serving those in need while still using her education, skills and experience. Katie and her family especially enjoy serving the Community First! residents every chance they get. Katie is married to Chad and they are blessed with two – soon to be three – precious girls: Anna (3), Madison (2) and Lexi (due in October).
Long ago, this verse became ingrained in my heart:
They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
When I met Steven, I was transitioning out of teaching and looking to farm full time. I had visions of a community farm that served the physical and spiritual needs of the hungry in Austin.
I began volunteering with Genesis Gardens, first weekly, then more and more. It was in the planting of these gardens that I found we, as a community, were rooting ourselves to the place and to each other. We were making a home with one another. I found the verses that had long called to me echoed back in this work.
And as I’ve gotten to know Mobile Loaves & Fishes–the staff, the volunteers and all those we serve alongside—I’ve seen that this home is inhabited by a community that cares for one another as family. I am grateful to be a part of this movement of abundant love and life.
“Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”” John 21:17-19.
That was the undeniable call causing my move from Portland, OR to Austin, TX. In Portland, I had worked as a youth mental health counselor, but the Lord was laying on my heart an unquenched desire to love the homeless and utilize my skills to help meet their needs. As well, the Lord was laying upon me an unshakable and, at the time, dream-like vision of people literally returning to the garden for restoration. Of utilizing the sustainable system of food growing from the ground to feed the hungry and building community for those in need around that system.
Shortly after moving to Austin I found myself feeling quite lost and confused as to why I had moved, when I heard Steven speaking as a guest speaker in a church I had never before been to. Steven spoke about the works of MLF and the Genesis Gardens ministry within Community First! and I thought to myself, “if I’m here for anything, it’s this.” 2 weeks later Steven called announcing a position had been created and I leapt for it. Working for MLF has been such an honor and undeserved blessing as it is a rare opportunity not often conveyed at career fairs in that it is more than a job, it is a life, in executing and delighting in a commission assigned by the Lord. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to serve with MLF.
I am so happy to be a part of the Mobile Loaves & Fishes staff! It was truly a miracle and a blessing that this opportunity came to me and I was perfectly suited for the job. My background is in the corporate world and I am so glad I made the change to Mobile Loaves & Fishes because my work is so much more fulfilling now. It is nice to know that I have a small part in helping those who need help the most. The staff has welcomed me into this wonderful, caring family that is Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
One day an old man was walking along the beach when he noticed a young boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back into the ocean, they will surely die. “ “Son, “ the man said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, the boy said, “I made a difference for that one!
The Good Lord has blessed me in countless ways. He has allowed me to witness many miracles when MLF has made a “difference for that one” or “this one” or “the other one”. That is why I am part of the MLF family.
Donors are the heart and soul of every nonprofit and at Mobile Loaves & Fishes, I am blessed to visit with dedicated and loyal supporters all who believe in the mission to bring uncompromising love and support to the homeless in our community. I can’t think of a better job in the world then to simply go to work every day to say, “thank you- you make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.”
I came to Mobile Loaves & Fishes after many years of admiring the organization “from a distance”, both as a nonprofit fundraising professional and as a volunteer. In 2003, as a member of the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) board, I helped to create and develop what is known today as BookSpring’s largest fundraiser, The Read-A-Thon and coordinated development activities including fundraising, marketing and website development. I also proudly worked on the 84th Zilker Kite Festival.
My husband Mark and I have two teenagers, Elizabeth and Matthew. I also volunteer with The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Meals on Wheels, IHN, Eanes schools, and the National Charity League.
I am a proud Aggie and am committed to converting the Mobile Loaves & Fishes Offices to deep Maroon sometime in the near future
As I ponder back on my over 55 years here on this earth I can see quite clearly the many times God has spoken to me and sadly the many times I refused to listen. But there was this one time with my best friend and wife Tricia present along with a good friend when I heard about this ministry in Corpus Christi, Texas where on cold winter nights multiple churches would come together and pool their resources to take out to the folks who lived on the streets. Then KABOOM!, there it was this image of a catering truck as a distribution vehicle from those of us who have abundance to those who lacked abundance. Thirteen years later I can clearly see God’s providential hand in each and every aspect of this ministry; from the over 16,000 volunteers to the extraordinary staff here at Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
Most importantly, God blessed me with my best friend and wife Tricia. We have been married for over 27 years and we have lived in the same home for those 27 years. We have four beautiful children Decker, Taylor, Marlee and Keaton and a wonderful niece Samantha who we were blessed to include into our family. At the moment we have three dogs, one cat, four chickens and a bunch of wildlife around our home. We would probably have more pets but the coyotes keep our population in check in our neighborhood.
“Leaving an office Christmas party, I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie on the go, for the ride home. I have a weakness for chocolate chip cookies, can’t resist them! Walking down 6th Street to my car, I passed by a homeless man sitting on the step of a bar storefront. The bar was closed, its metal door still locked up tight. He bundled up in all the clothes that he possesses to keep warm. His meager belongings next to him, a backpack and a tattered rolled up blanket. He looked dirty and tired. He didn’t shower for days, and probably didn’t have much to eat either. His eyes sad. I stopped and gave him my cookie. His face lit up, he broke into a smile, said to me: “Why thank you! How do you know I have a sweet tooth?” I never forget that smile, it breaks my heart. No one should go hungry like this. We are in the land of plenty, are we not?”