David*, age 60, was homeless for over 10 years, living in different warehouses and in the back of U-Haul trucks. Life kept dealing him blows, even in the form of physical assault. He’s been stabbed, run over by a car, and at one point David was shot in the head and bled for two days before he was taken to the hospital.
Jim Berry, Finance Manager, on the street with David in Newark
A regular for over 6 years at The Relief Bus’ Newark location, David came to know many volunteers and staff members who showed him love. They gave him socks, blankets, and clothing, prayed with him, offered him a way off the street, and became his friend.
Looking back, David wonders if he was out of his mind to have rejected people’s help and stayed on the street for so long. His famous line was always, “I’ll call you one of these days.” But for all those years David dealt with feelings of shame and fear over the way he looked and smelled, and it kept him from seeking any type of employment.
*David’s name has been changed and to protect the individual as well as The Relief Bus staff & volunteers.
Joe D, Executive Director of the Men's Home, David,
and Outreach Leader Lance Farrell
Finally, “one of these days” came and David actually showed up at the door of The Relief Base. He had walked from Newark to Elizabeth, and he really wanted to make a change. Staff members arranged for him to get into a detox before he entered a rehab program at the men’s home.
David now resides at a Men’s Home in NJ. Since coming off the street he’s gotten his ID, a place to sleep, eat, and be discipled, as well as put his construction skills to use. Next month David will be having surgery on his foot to fix a bone that has been broken for years.
As a child, his mother used to repeat Psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd), and the words never left him. When he was close to dying in a hospital bed from gunshot wounds, David clung to those words. And now that he finds himself on the other side, he continues to repeat them. David says: “I’m the guy they are singing about in “Amazing Grace.” I’m that wretch...You can’t tell me the Lord isn’t my shepherd.”