Michele Finds a Safe Port in the Storm
There were no hurricanes in Michele’s native Connecticut—just a lot of snow. So when the former “ski ambassador” moved down to Florida to be with her ailing aunt, surviving Hurricane Irma was a new—and devastating—experience.
“We lost everything,” Michele recalls. “We came down from Orlando, going to where there was electricity.” The women stayed in a hotel in Fort Myers but soon ran short on money. Michele tried staying with a couple of friends, but neither arrangement worked out.
“We ended up at St. Matthew’s House—and I’m very fortunate and blessed that we did,” says Michele. She admits she was terrified at the thought of staying in a homeless shelter. But St. Matthew’s House put all of her fears to rest.
“The staff are wonderful,” Michele tells us. “They’re very caring. You can really talk with them or pray with them. They help you see that God has a plan for you.”
Michele, a senior citizen, never thought God’s plan for her would include being homeless. However, she credits staying at St. Matthew’s House with opening her eyes to what homelessness means. “Everybody has a reason for being here,” she explains. “We’re not all drug addicts or alcoholics. This place is for anyone who needs to start over. Things happen that change your life dramatically. St. Matthew’s House trains you so when you leave, you can work and support yourself. They prepare each and every person here for life.”
Clearly, it would take more than a hurricane to keep Michele down for long. After only a few months with us, she moved into a condo where she enjoys working on her art, reading and raising her Siamese kitten. St. Matthew’s House will always be close to her heart and she plans to come back and volunteer. “I’m in a wheelchair,” she says, “but I can do as much as anybody if I work at it.”
Join Us In Celebration
Will You Help?
Our nearly 3,000 volunteers are the heartbeat of this organization. With more than thirteen locations across Southwest Florida and over 100 unique opportunities to serve each day, we rely heavily on—and are deeply grateful to—the men, women, and children who donate their time and talents serving with us. Last year, volunteers donated nearly $1 million worth of volunteer service hours!
We have urgent volunteer needs in the following areas and locations:
- Fort Myers Thrift Store, Fort Myers
- Kitchen Helpers at Campbell Lodge, specifically on Mondays and Fridays, Naples
- Mobile Pantry Helpers, Naples
Fill The Pantry
We had a wonderful outpouring of donations during this summer’s food drive—as much as 15,000 pounds of non-perishable food items! However, there is also great need in our community and much of the food has already been used or distributed. As St. Matthew's House enters our busiest time of year, we ask you to help stock our pantry again.
Your donation of food will make a difference in the lives of men, women and children who are less fortunate. You’ll find a list of our current pantry needs on our website.
Monetary donations will also be a big help as together we care for the least of these. Thank you for letting them know they’re loved and cared for by God—and by His people.