A Home To Smile About

If you are anything like us, sometimes wearing a smile is good camouflage for hiding any sadness we may be feeling. For our friends experiencing homelessness, a smile often keeps people from asking too many questions and protects them from exposing their pain. Our friend and neighbor, Phil, recently told us his smile became a true defense mechanism when he was surviving on the streets.

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“People used to say, ‘You smile all the time. You never have a bad day.’ All the while, deep down I was crying on the inside.” – Phil

Although Phil struggled with addiction, it was the pain he experienced from losing people close to him that fueled his chaotic life and years of homelessness.

The single greatest cause of homelessness is the catastrophic loss of family and community.

Though Phil worked as a cook on many restaurant kitchen crews throughout the city, he never allowed himself to connect with anyone and certainly never trusted anyone.

The chaos of life on the streets became oddly comfortable, and Phil became an expert at using his smile to hide his pain. After surviving on the streets for more than 15 years, Phil decided he couldn’t keep running. He needed a permanent place to call home. He needed caring people he could trust to support him and help him heal from the ravages of the streets. He needed you to give him an authentic reason to smile.

Because of compassionate and generous people like you, Phil found what he needed to transform his life. He found Community First! Village.

“I’m always going to have this smile, and I thank God for letting me be here.” – Phil

Housing alone will never solve homelessness, but community will!

Phil moved into the Village in the fall of 2020, and quickly found his place within the culinary team in our Community Works program. During the hardest days of the pandemic, Phil helped to prepare meals for his neighbors. Today Phil finds purpose and joy in the kitchen by stirring up new recipes and baking lots of love and laughter into his relationships with his team.

At Mobile Loaves & Fishes, we believe that once people are properly housed and their basic needs are being met, they can begin healing from the ravages of living on the streets. But for our homeless friends to truly settle, heal and transform their lives, they need much more than four walls and a roof to no longer be homeless. They need relationships. They need dignity and a renewed sense of hope. They need community. They need you.

We are so thankful for this community and are grateful that you choose to be a part of this community too. You are the goodness that our neighbors so desperately need to restore and transform their lives. Your compassionate support directly impacts our friends living in Community First! Village and those still suffering on the streets of Austin.

Your generous gift will provide ongoing support for Community First! Village and move our homeless neighbors off the streets into a place of permanence and community.

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Hear more of Phil’s story in his own episode of the Gospel Con Carne podcast, hosted by our founder Alan Graham.
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I’m smiling now because I’m happy. I’m having a good time. I’m home.” – Phil

” I wouldn’t trade these guys for anything in the world. We treat each other like family.” – Phil