The stories of our guests

At one point I had to make a decision: Do I want to live or die? And I chose to live. I’ve had throat cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer, and I’ve been living with HIV for 29 years. But I don’t let my illnesses get in my way. You know what I do? I picture my grandbabies.I’ve been off drugs for five years and the temptations are sometimes strong, but I pray and remind myself that my grandbabies need me. Yes, we have to go to Trinity Cafe to get by. But I feel strong. All you can do is live for today and thank God you’re six feet up.”



Christina Ariana TutChristina, Ariana, and Tut
“We take the bus here on Saturdays and Sundays so we can see our friends. Ariana loves it here so much. For her birthday, she was supposed to go off with her dad to McDonald’s, but she said, “My friends are at Trinity. I don’t want to go to McDonald’s – drop me off at Trinity.” She even spent her birthday money for bus fare when I didn’t have enough to get us all here. We have a two-bedroom apartment in West Tampa. I’m a full-time mom now. I went through some bad times but I’ve been clean for 26 months. I had another baby and I had to give him up for adoption, so he’s with a nice family in Clearwater. My 12-year-old is in Kentucky. Ariana understands people are hungry and homeless. She makes me take our food stamps to the convenience store and buy treats for our friends who eat here, because she knows they don’t have any food. She wants to help them. In an essay for school she wrote about how she likes to help the homeless by making them laugh. She wants to volunteer at Trinity when she’s 16.”


“My sister lives in New York and has someone looking out for her there. I’ve been down here for a while. The meals are good. A strong cup of coffee is always what I need.”





Timothy RobertaTimothy and Roberta
“This is my dad. I’m making him a grandfather early.”






I’m grateful for the God of my understanding
I’m thankful for Sister Maureen Dorr
I’m thankful for Trinity Cafe staff,
volunteers, and guests
I’m thankful for my sister, Dali
I’m thankful for my brother, Joey
I’m thankful for my daughter, Nina
I’m thankful for my parents
who taught me right from wrong
I’m thankful for the people who remind me on a daily basis
what I don’t want in my life.


“I came here from Oklahoma. I want to go home. I have MS.
I’m not afraid of the cold anywhere but here.”






“I got in trouble in California and I was in prison for 10 years. My blindness was caused by medical negligence. Now I take care of myself.”






“My parents say this is best for me, to be on my own. It’s been about four years. I sleep wherever I can find a place. Some days I go to the library and read comics. I like “Superman.” I walk to Trinity from there. Most days I enjoy the walk.”





“I was abandoned in Peru as a baby and brought to the United States. The priest threw a dart at the wall to pick a birthday for me. I’m working on my Ph.D. at USF right now. I’m an urban planner. I’m writing a paper about how to help alleviate
hunger. Food stamps aren’t enough; I’ve created the “coupon class” solution so that people get enough to eat. I’m almost finished with my paper. When it’s ready, I’ll give it to the mayor.”




“We wanted to get married but the courthouse said we have to wait. I wear a ring anyway. I was sick last week and had to go to the hospital. They took real good care of me. I stayed for a few days until my lungs cleared out. I’ll be all right now.”





“If not for my wife, I’d be dead. I was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2012 – she literally brought me back to life. She’d wake me up at night to make sure I was OK. And then she died. These days I go to the VA and they help me. My electricity and hot water were turned off a while ago because I got behind on my bill. But I have a new chance in life. I’m an ex-cop. I know how to read people.”




“We come to Trinity for breakfast and have a good time.”






My name is …
Song child of light
Is the name my Lord gave me.
Knowing me by day and by night
Sent Christ Jesus for to save me.
And so it is now in all of my life
I have a Father, Saviour, and His church known as Wife.
Thank you my Father so faithful and true
For what I’m becoming, I owe all to You.


“I’m on disability now and I’m trying to get back into the workforce. I was in customer service for 28 years. I live in an apartment building right across the street. I’m pretty much back on my feet, but there’s no way to eat except food stamps, which are limited. I don’t come here just to eat, though. I come to socialize and be among friends. I’m trying to get back into the swing of life. I’m awfully close.”




“My grandmother raised me. She passed away five years ago. I had a good little family and a good paying job. I had it going on. I was working with foster kids and we had a lot
of adventures. And then I crippled up inside my mind. I’m always in my own world. I like talking to myself – I’m good company!”




James 3James
“It’s not for lack of wanting to work, you know? My body just won’t let me. I was a carpenter in Pennsylvania until my body fell apart. I came to Florida four long, agonizing, pain-filled years ago to find work. My sister and I are going to buy a trailer – a three-bedroom double-wide, so her kids will have a place to live, too.”





James 2James
“I’m lovable, gullible, sweet, kind, and polite. I came to Trinity to eat and then started volunteering, busing tables and mopping and cleaning. Now I work in the kitchen.”






“I worked as a custodian for years but I’m disabled and I can’t do it anymore. God said it wasn’t my time to go yet, so I let Him do the work now. I come every day to Trinity. I enjoy the people and the meals here. Right now I rent a room. When I’m there I mostly watch my stories. My favorite is “The Young and the Restless.””





“I used to volunteer at Salvation Army. I went back to prison
for five years so I’m on parole. I worked in construction
and then as a chef. I got nine grandbabies. They come
sometimes on the weekends to visit.”





“My son came here to go to school, but the grants didn’t come, so I came here in September from Los Angeles to help him out. He’s studying business and sports medicine. I’m still looking for work. His landlord only allows one tenant, so I sleep in my truck just around the corner from his place so I’m close by. I’m job hunting. I’m here, I’m healthy. Everything else will fall in line.”




“Right now I’m taking care of a guy who’s got cancer. I sleep on his porch and make sure he’s all right. My mom and I moved here from Norfolk, Virginia, when my dad committed suicide. I worked for 12 years but then started using. God sent me a message to quit two years ago – and I quit. I don’t want to go back to that.”





“I worked for a temp service in Clearwater for four months. I come here for lunch and breakfast, and one day I talked to Cindy about volunteering. Busing is great! I help out whenever I can, and then I go right to services. It’s my choice to live how I live. I choose to stay out there. Right now my son is in Colorado and my daughter lives in Hawaii. I talk to her sometimes on Facebook.”




“My name means Queen.”