Our Core Purpose
As an expression of God’s love in Southwest Florida, we are growing to ensure that no one experiencing hunger, homelessness or addiction is alone or without a pathway for their journey from crisis to contributor. Together with our partners and participants, we cultivate communities where people are progressively seen, accepted, challenged, and supported.
Our Beliefs and Principles
We are called to care for “the least of these”. We are helpful by providing food, shelter, clothing, and care for the sick and by visiting those in jail.
We work to provide healing words, resources, and structure to all who come to us. The homeless, addicted, mentally ill, and people wounded by life’s circumstances need the opportunity to find healing. We work to ensure this is a safe healing atmosphere for all.
We strive for the best business and ministry practices in every area of the organization. In our personal lives, we are expected to live a life that is blameless and carry ourselves with integrity.
Everything that we do is to reflect the knowledge that God cares for all who come to us. Customers in our stores, residents in our programs, volunteers, staff, and anyone else should see the goodness of God’s blessings in all that we do.
Three Decades of Service
St. Matthew’s House began in 1987 when a bible study group followed a calling to bring food to a homeless population living in a nearby wooded area.
The “Task Force for the Homeless” began gathering contributions of both food and clothing, establishing the mission’s food pantry.
Throughout the years, community support has helped grow the small mission into a multi-faceted organization focused on spiritual change.
As a 501(c)(3), our unique social enterprise business model helps cover the administrative expenses for the organization, so donations go toward our program expenses.
Matthew 25: 35-36, 40
“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
Today, St. Matthew’s House continues to run the original Emergency/Transitional Housing and Feeding Ministry along with its Justin’s Place Recovery Program, Collier County jail chaplain service, 6 thrift stores, a breakfast and lunch café that includes a full-service catering company, and retreat/conference center.
St. Matthew’s House works to eliminate the elements of poverty at their base. Our homeless shelter and feeding ministry have opened their doors to countless lives without taking a day off in more than a quarter century.
Through our numerous programs, including the Justin’s Place Recovery Program, our ministry is able to initiate a second chance at life for many facing their toughest times. With established faith-based principles and dedication we’ve been able to see hundreds of individuals and families regain their independence.
Naples is a sleepy town on the idyllic Florida southwest coast. Mostly retirees and locals make up the population. Underneath the picturesque vista, however, is a forgotten group of homeless people. Desperate and starving, they have no hope until the day a group of parishioners studied the book of Matthew in the Bible, where Jesus explains to his disciples about how taking care of the needy is as important, if not more so than taking care of Him.
November 15th, 1988:
Within a few days of this Bible study, an article appears in the Naples Daily News about the homeless population living in the woods. The scripture fresh in their minds, the parishioners, dubbing themselves, “The Task Force for the Homeless”, begin taking soup out to these forgotten souls. The first Thanksgiving Day meal is served to the homeless and hungry a couple of weeks later.
Encouraged by the grateful response, the Task Force begins gathering contributions of food and clothing, then establishes a food pantry and launches a search to find a suitable location for a shelter to care for the homeless and hungry of our community.