San Jose Home Makers No Longer Homeless
Thanks to a donation, the ministry that provides furnishings to migrant farm workers and other needy residents has new headquarters.
Unexpected help came from halfway around the world.
The San Jose Home Makers, a ministry of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Valrico, had been pleading for months for donated warehouse space to store the couches, beds, tables and linen the ministry uses to furnish homes for migrant farm workers and other needy residents in east and south Hillsborough County.
The group's former warehouse space, a one-time convent next to the San Jose Mission in Dover, was torn down Oct. 31 to make room for a new child-care center for the children of migrant farm workers. The Home Makers, composed of about 35 volunteers, was forced to work out of a confined space next to Noah's Ark Animal Hospital on Bell Shoals Road, donated by Dr. Sharon Hunter.
The Home Makers were praying someone would come forward with a large enough warehouse space to accommodate their needs when Terry Modica, executive director of Good News Ministries in Tampa, posted a video about the San Jose Home Makers on her Youtube channel, viewed internationally.
"I showed it to one of our sponsors from Singapore, Lawrence Lee, and asked him to pray about helping the Home Makers," said Modica, who started Good News Ministries (gnm.org) in 1995.
Lee didn't need to be asked twice. After viewing the video showing the work of the Home Makes, he donated $15,600, enough to pay the rent on a warehouse space for two years.
The donation may have come from Singapore, but far as San Jose Home Makers co-founder Pam Stamey was concerned, it was a gift from heaven.
"We were thrilled," said Stamey, who founded the ministry with friend Heidi Smith three years ago. "There are so many poor here; it's shocking. The numbers of people sleeping on the floor are unbelievable. But, through the San Jose Home Makers, we're able to bring in furniture, beds, even pictures for the walls, and create a home for them."
Since founding the San Jose Home Makers three years ago, the ministry has expanded to include the Tampa Home Makers and Pinellas County Home Makers. Together, the three groups have provided furnishings for hundreds of needy residents.
The San Jose Home Makers alone have furnished homes for 538 families. In a typical week, the Home Makers furnish homes for three or four families.
"A lot of times, they've been sleeping on the floor or they've all been sleeping in one bed. They have no furniture and a few dishes that all the family members share. They're the poorest of the poor in this country, and they live just down the street from us," said Stamey.
The donation from their Singapore benefactor permitted the Home Makers to rent 1,200 square feet of warehouse space at 1087 Brandon Blvd., behind Famous Tate at a reduced rate, thanks to Famous Tate owner John Horst.
The group recently hosted a luncheon at the new warehouse space, inviting Bishop Oscar Brown and the Rev. Narciso Rodriguez, who were visiting St. Stephen parish from Panama.
The San Jose Home Makers are now on the lookout for a box truck for transporting furniture. Anyone who can help should call Stamey at 813-300-7984 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.