The Source, a Christian ministry providing transformative care to the poor and homeless, presented its 16th annual Night of Hope fundraiser as a virtual, but no less notable, affair this year.
Interspersed throughout the evening were video presentations about the remarkable accomplishments of the nonprofit, and musical interludes by the husband-and-wife duo of Anne Brummel and Michael Williams, who pre-pandemic were performing with “My Fair Lady” at Lincoln Center Theater.
There were also cameo messages of congratulations and support from Kathie Lee Gifford and philanthropist George Shinn, as well as testimonials from some of the many individuals assisted by the Source.
“I’m very proud of the Source’s accomplishments this year. Despite the pandemic and all the uncertainty, we persevered, and we offered our services the best that we could to as many people as we could,” said Pastor Wayne Traverse, board vice president.
“I believe we fulfilled that, and we continue to do so. We try to stay in the here and now and be diligent with the people that God put in our path and try to take care of them to the best of our ability.”
Commenting on the continual need for funds to support their services, he added that the people they serve could be your friends, neighbors or family members who have fallen on hard times, and that financial assistance and prayers are always necessary and appreciated.
Accompanying a photo montage, a voiceover stated that the team at the Source works on the front lines daily, helping broken people change their lives. “Individuals who walk through our doors have experienced a great loss. Some have lost family, their home, a job and personal belongings, while others have experienced a severe medical emergency, mental health issues or an addiction that controls them.”
During a taped presentation from this past November, when the Indian River County Board of Commissioners presented a Proclamation to the Source and recognized Nov. 15-22, 2020 as National Homeless Awareness Week, Tony Zorbaugh, executive director of the Source, shared news of the launch of their latest endeavor, the Dignity Bus.
“It’s the first mobile emergency shelter in the country,” said Zorbaugh. “We took a 45-foot motor coach that we transformed into 20 sleeping pods, so we’re able to offer sleeping arrangements for 20 individuals in our community. We couldn’t do it if it weren’t for this amazing community and the people standing behind me (Source employees), so thank you guys so much.”
Zorbaugh also spoke about another of their achievements, this summer’s rollout of the Dignity Food Truck, enabled by a 2020 Impact 100 grant.
“Impact 100 is so proud to be a partner with the Dignity Food Truck from the Source,” said Gladys LaForge, current Impact president. “It has everything that our members look for. It helps underprivileged people in the community, it services the community, it’s self-sustaining, it supports itself. and it’s growing bigger and better with more ideas.”
Zorbaugh explained that the Food Truck was part of the Dining with Dignity Culinary program.
“It gives students the ability to have hands-on training within the community and it’s the last step for them to gain employment in our community,” said Zorbaugh.
The Food Truck has allowed them to partner with other nonprofits in their fundraisers and to interact with local businesses. And when Hurricane Sally devastated the Florida Panhandle, they drove the truck up to feed people there.
“We’re helping them but they’re actually helping us,” said Zorbaugh. “Because you can’t find another job, another company, where you can walk beside somebody to see them from literally sleeping on the street to, in a short amount of time, give their life to Christ and see the amount of blessings that happen in their life. It’s unbelievable; the feeling is just indescribable.”
Their next vision is to find and purchase 20 acres to build Dignity Village, a self-contained campus community with 110 small homes for people who are looking for a sense of belonging and purpose.
For more information, visit iamthesource.org.
Photos by Kaila Jones