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FC Serve Day: Poverello House


Each year, FC takes one day out of the year to go and serve at multiple locations throughout the city of Fresno. The Feather will be highlighting each location that students will be serving at on FC Serve Day. This piece highlights, the Poverello House.

[/media-credit] FC students will be serving at the Poverello House as well as many other locations throughout Fresno on FC Serve Day, March 2.

The Poverello House works to enrich the lives and spirits of all who pass their way, by providing meals, social services and temporary shelters. They work with partnering agencies to better assist those in need.

The services that the Poverello House provide include; serving three meals, totaling up to over 1,500 meals a day 365 days a year, clothing distribution, emergency food bags, a medical clinic, the men’s resident rehabilitation program. Temporary overnight shelters for men and women and social services for individuals seeking to end their homelessness situation are available.

The Poverello House receives their supplies through donations, such as money, food, clothes or household items. Much of what the organization does is through the work of many dedicated volunteers and would not be able to offer the wide variety of services it provides without the daily assistance of those volunteers.

New volunteer Victoria Medina feels that everyone should help out in their community, especially the ones with a surplus of time. Medina enjoys working at the Poverello House because of the immense gratitude it brings her.

“I volunteer because I feel that help is needed,” Medina said. “It’s also something that I think people with extra time on their hands should do. This is about my fifth time volunteering here and I really like the satisfaction it gives me after I finish helping out. I would recommend that everyone tries volunteering because it exposes you to new things.”

Volunteering at the Poverello House can look very different on a day to day basis. Sharon Adkins explains the process of volunteering and shares about her experiences in the different fields of the Poverello House.

“I like volunteering, it gets me out of my selfish mode and focuses more on others who need some help,” Adkins said. “I have been volunteering here for about a year and I have experienced a couple of different jobs. Recently, I have been on ‘cleaning the plate duty’ and early on I cut up some potatoes, it’s really just wherever I’m needed. Also while I’ve been here I have made many amazing memories.”

The men’s resident rehabilitation program offers a substance abuse program for adult men. Jay Plasencia is currently a member of the program and is thriving. He also helps at the Poverello House in any way possible.

“I’ve been here as a resident for about six months now,” Plasencia said. “In less than two weeks I will be going home and graduating from the residential part and into aftercare. I have many jobs but number one I’m the bread man in which I make sure there’s dinner rolls ready at serve time and pastries in the line.

[/media-credit] Poverello House is a place where homeless people can come and receive free meals.

“One of my favorite parts of serving at the Poverello House is just staying in touch with the community,” Plasencia continued. “The program has helped me understand poverty more while working here. Another job that I do is make sandwiches on Saturdays when we have recreational sports, I really enjoy that.”

A number of workers are at the Poverello House are there on court order because they have either committed a crime such as robbery or they have a drug addiction. Ruben Espinoza was sent to the Poverello House because of his drug addiction. Espinoza has reconsidered what he was doing in his life and decided that he needed to make some changes due to what the Poverello House has done for him.

“I have been here for a little over three months,” Espinoza said. “I’m here because the court said that I had to be involved in an 18 month program so I chose the Poverello House. I like that it has given me an opportunity to reevaluate what I’m doing with my life and it’s just a chance to change things and get a clarity of mind.

“I needed some help and this has been a great place to get it,” Espinoza continued. “I am number one in the dish room, which means that I make sure everything gets done at a certain time and everyone is doing what they are suppose to do, I really like it here.”

Tired of moving from place to place, 58 year old, Johnny Perez decided to come to the Poverello House. Perez enjoys spending time at the Poverello House and notices an immense love the surrounds him.

“I have been coming here for about two or three months,” Perez said. “The things that I really like about the Poverello House are the food and the people. A friend of mine told me about the organization and I knew that I had to come check it out. I came here because I am homeless, they took my van away from me and I am tired of getting kicked out of places. I have noticed that this is a place where many homeless people come that are hungry and looking for some help. At the Poverello House you are surrounded by people that love and respect you. There’s a lot of love of Jesus here.”

At the Poverello House there is something called the ‘Village of Hope’ which was established in 2004 in response to the increased number of homeless encampments in the City of Fresno. The village includes a number of simple ‘Tuff Shed’-like shelters. While in the villages there are three simple rules, ‘take care of yourself, take care of others, and take care of this place.’

FC students will be going to Poverello House as a part of FC Serve Day, March. 2.

To read last year’s FC Serve Day article check out: Annual Serve Day uplifts attitudes, encourages kindness.

The author can be reached via email: Braden Bell, Instagram and Twitter.


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  • T

    Trevor TrevinoFeb 22, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    I didn’t know much about the Poverello House until I just read this article! They have so many programs help with all kinds of people who either struggle with substance abuse or the need for clothes. Good article Braden.

    • B

      Braden BellFeb 23, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      Thanks Trevor!