Trinity Cafe is an intentional community.
‘Faces of Trinity Cafe’ is a celebration of all that embodies that community.

Every person who walks through the doors at Trinity Cafe has a unique story of their own.
Meet Shirley.

I found out about Trinity Cafe passing by the church and asking somebody about what was going on. It’s a comfortable place where I can eat, talk to people, laugh and think about the good things instead of the hardship of the streets.

I came in the beginning because I needed a meal. If it wasn’t for Trinity Cafe, a lot of times when I slept in the streets I would be hungry too. I’d be laying down in the park and I be really hungry looking forward to having that meal because I didn’t have a home so I didn’t have anywhere to cook but I know I could come here and get a meal.

I was born and raised in Tampa. I went to Job Corps back in the 70s and got the degree in cooking and baking.

I believe food is love. I’ve been a cook for 21-30 years and food is love because when you got a hot meal in your belly after being hungry and you having a hard time, it makes you feel better. It’s good for your mind, your soul, your body, and the way you think about other people and the world in general.

I have some wild cats that I go and feed everyday. People think I’m nuts for doing that but still that’s my thing because I know the secret to food. Food is love. They wild as long as they’re hungry. They ready to scratch everything but when they get that meal they just lick their little chops and go on somewhere calmed down until the next meal comes.

I always believed in God. My mother was an alcoholic for 38 years but by me knowing who Christ is, I led my mother to him and now she lives in the heavenly realm for eternity. I was homeless because of an eviction on my record. But I have a place now! I always believed in Jesus and one night it was cold outside. I was on the park table. I had to use the bathroom so I got up to find a place to go. I was cold, really really cold. There was a pathway in the park that I walked down until I got to a long concrete slab in front of a building. I looked at this building and I sat there crying. I was talking to the Lord. I don’t know what all I said but I was pouring my heart out and when I poured my heart out, he was hearing me. I asked God to have mercy on me because I thought I was going to die. When you’re all alone out in the cold with nowhere to go, you feel like you’re going to die. The Lord heard my cry and he opened up a door for me.

The eviction on my record was 4 years old. I knew I had it on my record but I filled out the application anyway for the apartment. At first they turned me down. They said everything looked good except the eviction. God told me to go get the eviction papers from the court. The reason behind it was because the landlord wouldn’t fix anything and I got tired of paying my rent with the house being damaged from the front to the back. For 2 years he wouldn’t fix anything up. I was bedridden for 9 weeks after an operation, so I couldn’t just move out. We were going back and forth in court. He evicted me but I got him to fix up the place through the code enforcement. So even though I got tossed out, he had to fix the place for the other people. I don’t play because see, I believe in justice. If it doesn’t come for me, it’ll come for other people.