“When I was a little boy, I dreamed of being a fireman. I wanted to help people…” –Ellis

Just like you and me, Ellis had childhood dreams of what he wanted to be when he grew up. He never realized this dream. Ellis left home at 16 to escape the physical and emotional abuse he suffeed at the hands of his alcoholic father. Finding shelter with acquaintances, he struggled with addictions, and made choices that landed him in jail. Just months before Ellis was released from jail, his mother died. He was devastated. He was alone. He had no place to call home.

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The primary cause of homelessness is a catastrophic loss of family.

Ellis struggled to survive on the streets. Night after night, he camped at the labor center hoping to be get work for the day. Most days, he didn’t get work. He was hungry and hopeless when a homeless friend told him about the MLF food truck. He made the two hour walk from the labor center to where the truck was serving.

I met my friend Ellis that day, and as we talked, I learned that he not only hungered for food; he was starving for community and a dignifiedway to support himself.

The journey home began with a sandwich and a smile.

After he had plenty to eat, Ellis shared his story with me. It was obvious that he wanted to work, but lacked opportunities to earn a dignified income.

“No one really likes to panhandle.
It’s degrading.”
–Ellis

I told Ellis about the ROADS Micro-Enterprise program. This core program of Mobile Loaves & Fishes provides dignified income opportunities, and encourages our homeless friends to rediscover their God-given talents. Before long, Ellis was working as a vendor on the Street Treats mobile vending carts selling ice cream and snacks. He also found work caring for the grounds at a local church, and packaging socks with our friends at a sock company. Ellis ultimately found work that feeds his soul as well as his belly, in our Genesis Gardens program.

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“Now I am caring for the fruit trees at Genesis Gardens. I grow food, and I get to help people.” –Ellis

At Mobile Loaves & Fishes, we offer so much more than a meal. We offer dignity, empowerment, relationship and community. We offer a way home.

Before Ellis found the MFL truck that day, he couldn’t imagine a way home. What began with a simple meal, has evolved into dignifiedwork and a secure home in a loving, supportive community.

– Alan Graham