Congratulations to Healing Hearts Cafe for being applauded by Avalon Park Wesley Chapel.
Healing Hearts Cafe’s mission is to provide the homeless with all the resources needed to become contributing members of the Zephyrhills community.
The nonprofit has evolved over the last 10 years, as its roots were originally with the Grace Cafe, founded by Donna Nelson. Grace Cafe served a free meal every Saturday, to anyone in need.
After Nelson moved from the area, director Kathy Pahl changed the name to Healing Hearts Cafe and began serving Saturday night meals, followed by a church service. She also began taking meals to the park two days a week.
Around this time, Joni Keane began helping her, along with Nelson who had just moved back to Zephyrhills.
The three of them felt a need to do more, as the home-insecure had multiple issues to address. They began to pray that God would provide a building where they could offer showers, laundry facilities, and a safe place out of the heat or severe weather. God answered their prayers and they’ve been in their current building for about 16 months.
At Healing Hearts Cafe, three free meals are provided each day. The dining room also serves as a “family room” where displaced persons can hang out, play board games, watch TV, and charge their phones. The building also has laundry facilities and a shower.
The nonprofit also provides rides to job interviews, doctor appointments, court appearances and numerous other places. All of its services are free of charge.
“If there is something we can’t provide, we find someone who does,” says Keane.
In its first year of operation, the nonprofit served 25,000 meals to an average of 50 or more people each day, as well as offered 2,400 showers and completed 700 loads of laundry.
Homelessness has always been an issue, but Keane says it’s been exacerbated lately due to the increased cost of rent, food and other essentials.
People from all walks of life have come to Healing Hearts Cafe for help. Keane says many circumstances can lead to homelessness, including addiction, mental illness, medical catastrophes, abuse, abandonment from loved ones, and poor decision-making.
There are a variety of ways the community can help support Healing Hearts Cafe, including serving food, stocking shelves, cleaning, and spending a few moments to provide encouragement to the clients.
“We are also looking for job coaches, financial advisors, and Bible study leaders. Our facility lso often needs repairs with plumbing and electrical issues, to keep it running smoothly,” says Keane.
The cafe accepts donations of food, paper products and cleaning supplies, at any time.
Monetary donations are greatly appreciated, too. “Due to the high volume of laundry and showers, our utility bill is quite high. We also have the usual expenses of rent, insurance, and cable/wifi,” says Keane.
And, at the end of the day, prayer is always welcomed and appreciated.
Healing Hearts Cafe is located at 6436 12th St., Zephyrhills, FL 33542 and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, go to HealingHeartsCafe.com.