JACKSONVILLE, FL — Needing to replace a broken refrigerated truck that delivers food for the homeless, Sulzbacher Center has received $22,000 from St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral to bolster a $15,000 grant and enable purchase of a new $37,000 vehicle.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, Sulzbacher coordinated with all other area homeless service providers to use hotels for quarantining people who have tested positive for the virus. This includes transporting meals to those in quarantine. On an ongoing basis, safe, refrigerated transportation of food from food banks and grocery donors, along with transportation of prepared meals to remote serving locations, including hotels, is essential to the meal program.
Sulzbacher’s current delivery truck is more than 10 years old and its broken refrigeration unit was deemed not worth the cost to repair. A grant from the Truist Bank Foundation provided $15,000 toward the purchase of the new truck, while $22,000 from St. John’s Cathedral will round out the balance of costs including specialized equipment.
“We are thrilled to have received this incredibly generous gift from our good friends at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral,” said Cindy Funkhouser, Sulzbacher President and CEO. “The donation will be used to buy a new refrigerated truck for our kitchen. This vehicle is critically needed to be able to transport donated food to be used in our meals program, and also to transport meals to people we are serving who are in hotels in quarantine due to COVID. St. John’s has been a partner with Sulzbacher since the very beginning and we are so thankful for their compassion for people experiencing homelessness.”
The connection between SJC and Sulzbacher Center is a strong one.
“IM Sulzbacher was a faithful member of this Cathedral. We consider the ministry of Sulzbacher to be Christ’s work in this world,” said The Very Rev. Kate Moorehead, Dean of St. John’s Cathedral. “Just as Jesus fed the five thousand, so he continues to ask us to feed the hungry even today.”
Throughout the past year, Sulzbacher’s kitchen prepared and served 472,376 meals to the homeless and hungry of our community. Sulzbacher has seen a 50 percent increase in meals served in the walk-up food line since the opening of the Urban Rest Stop in 2019. The Urban Rest Stop is a place where the unsheltered homeless population can go during the day to receive meals, showers, and referrals for housing along with other services.
About SJC: St. John’s Cathedral is home to a vibrant and diverse congregation in downtown Jacksonville, which gathers for worship and then is sent forth to love and serve the Lord. We trace our heritage to the first Episcopal service in Florida which took place on the banks of the St. Johns River in 1829. The first services on Billy Goat Hill, which remains our physical location, took place in 1834, establishing St. John’s Parish. Since 1951, this church has served as the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida.
About Sulzbacher Center: Sulzbacher opened its doors in December of 1995 as the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the homeless in response to the explosion of crisis homelessness that happened in the nineties both in Jacksonville and nationwide. The agency was founded by three groups: the City of Jacksonville, a group of area businesses, and the United Way of Northeast Florida. Unlike other homeless shelters, Sulzbacher was founded on the premise that homeless persons need and deserve more than just a meal and a bed to end their homelessness. Sulzbacher provides a continuum of care approach, addressing all aspects of homelessness including housing, income and health care. Over the more than two decades since the agency opened, the services have grown to include street outreach, primary health, behavioral health and dental care for all ages, permanent housing, job placement and early learning.