St. Stephen’s Human Services opened up our Clinton Avenue shelter in 1981. Since then, two organizations in the community have remained steadfast partners and supporters of our work to end homelessness: Pax Christi Catholic Community and The Church of Christ the King.
Pax Christi started as a church around the same time that St. Stephen’s opened our first shelter. They were looking for a meaningful way to carry out their mission when they found St. Stephen’s.
When asked why they continue to invest in St. Stephen’s, Renee, a staff person at Pax Christi, explained that the partnership stems from our common approach to social justice and a deep identity with their purpose “to work toward equity and systemic change in society [and] share [their] resources with others.”
In our nearly thirty-year histories together, many staff and hundreds of volunteers have cultivated relationship with St. Stephen’s, spreading the message of dignity and justice. Renee emphasized that “we never intend to provide a hand out, but a hand up.”
The Church of Christ the King is another congregation that has journeyed with St. Stephen’s from the very beginning.
When asked why they choose to continue partnering with St. Stephen’s, Mary Jane, a recently retired, but long-time staff person at the Church of Christ the King, responded, “You are literally the boots on the ground in working with individuals experiencing homelessness in the city. You have the skills and have developed the relationships to help mitigate the problem. You are trying new ways of outreach, are in this for the long haul, [and] are ceaseless in your efforts to educate the public about the realities of homelessness.
“Partnering with St Stephen’s makes sense: we have the desire to mitigate homelessness and you have the experience and the relationships to do so. As a congregation we are committed to both justice and charity in solving this issue.”
Over the years, members of Pax Christi and Christ the King have provided hundreds of shelter meals, monetary support, and thousands of new, high-quality winter items (or whatever was most needed) for the people we serve.
Both of these relationships are so deep and committed. A simple two-minute phone call is often all it takes on our end, and they take it from there. These communities trust us to ask for what is most needed and to deliver it efficiently and appropriately. To say we are grateful for these partnerships is a vast understatement.
Thank you, Pax Christi Catholic Community and Church of Christ the King, for your unwavering commitment to justice and dignity in the journey to help end homelessness. You are true partners and are making our community a better place for all.