How 60 days at the Lebanon County Christian Ministries emergency shelter helped one man save money, secure a full-time job
When Jesse spoke at a United Way event recently, he fought back tears as he spoke about the impact Lebanon County Christian Ministries (LCCM) has had on his life over two difficult months.
“It’s just been eye opening to see the services they provide to the community,” the 27-year-old man said after reflecting on his time at FRESH Start, LCCM’s homeless shelter and resource center.
“You’ll see the lunch lines, the food banks, the clothing,” he said. “I haven’t seen a place like this before.”
Originally from Florida, Jesse moved to Pennsylvania 6 years ago after struggling with drugs.
“I came up here and decided at the age of 20 that the road I was headed down wasn’t the one I wanted to continue down,” he said.
He packed his bags, moved in with his father and was determined to make changes in his life. He later started a family in Perry County, complete with a 2-bedroom apartment, two vehicles and bills that were, for the most part, paid on time.
Financial and personal difficulties loomed, however, and Jesse could no longer live in the apartment he shared with his family.
At the same time his father began experiencing health issues, and Jesse found himself caring for him.
After several months, he wanted to move closer to his children, but had no place to live. He toyed with the idea of living in a tent at a campground, but instead Googled “homeless shelters” and wound up at two shelters before coming to LCCM.
When Jesse arrived at LCCM he found a compassionate staff who connected him to resources so he could save money and get back on his feet.
Besides food, clothing and shelter, LCCM provided the resources to help Jesse get a bicycle so he could commute to a job in Lebanon city, but they also provided something else – accountability.
“They just sat me down and were understanding, but at the same time they were stern,” he said. “Here, you have to do chores, you have to be looking for a job, or housing, it was unique.”
In mid-October, Jesse was able to leave FRESH Start when he secured a full-time job that could be a gamechanger for him and his family and an apartment.
“A lot of us (who come through LCCM) can’t save up a whole lot of money or don’t have $2,000 to $3,000 in the bank to just move in somewhere else,” he said. “So, the services they provide here give you that opportunity.”
Written by Andrea Gillhoolley, development manager, Lebanon County Christian Ministries. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (717) 272 4400 ext. 211 to find out how you can become a supporter of LCCM to help change lives in Lebanon County.