I believe in investing in the homeless in any way we can, and giving them the abilities to improve their situation and break the cycle of homelessness in their own lives. Many times, the resources of the church can help to make this happen.
One of the projects I inherited at Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries from the previous leadership is community wealth generation. Some years back, a substantial fund was created to provide grants and generous loans to at-risk individuals for starting their own for-profit business. Though they were successful in a few projects, the fund stood dormant until I found Jason Mercado.
When I met him a few months ago, Jason was a homeless man with a dream…and bad credit and a record. He was caught up in violence in his youth, and the trials of poverty caused him to lose hope and turn to crime. This then lead downward into homelessness. But there is nothing wrong with Jason. Given the tools, he will succeed. He has an entrepreneurial drive and a desire to create a business that could allow him to mentor others before they also go down Jason’s darker roads. But what he didn’t have is money.
Jason has a plan for the establishment of “Just Cookies…” a cookie catering business. He assembled a pro-bono staff of lawyers, business advisors and a marketing team. He drew up a slick business plan. And Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries is providing a substantial amount of seed money to make that happen and get him started. This will allow him to hire staff, buy equipment and supplies, and start taking orders.
He was coming over to my house to make a few batches for an installation event we have at a local LCMS church, so I offed to my friends on Facebook the opportunity to buy his cookies via mail order. I thought a handful would order. The response was huge–I mean HUGE. In hours, we had orders for hundreds of cookies, and the orders are still coming in from Lutherans as far away as California and everything in between.
Pastor Joshua Scheer thought the wider readership of BJS would appreciate the news and the opportunity to order some for themselves. All of the proceeds are going to Jason directly, and your purchase not only buys you delicious cookies, it also helps a man live his dream while breaking the cycle of homelessness in his life. Let’s show that we’re behind him.
I also look forward to reporting on how Jason’s story is unfolding. I am working at the possibility of him living at on of our new houses with the rest of my workers, where we will work, study the scriptures and worship together.
Below is how you go about the ordering process. Here soon, we will have a better procedure for electronic ordering that can keep all of the information in one place. Until then, we are running it by mail with checks mailed to Jason’s business address. Here’s how that goes:
First, orders are being sold by the dozen, at $16 per dozen for all flavors. A dozen can be all one flavor, or a combination chosen from these:
Double white chocolate chip
Cranberry apple almond w/ chocolate chip
Second, after you have made your selection, email me at [email protected] with your order, including your mailing address.
Third, for now, we are taking payment by check until we work out a better process with Jason. These are to be sent to:
1221 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fourth, you should receive your order in a little over a week. I know Jason thanks you for your business, and I thank everyone for showing that we are all investing in him.