Julie Brown doesn’t have a cent to her name — and honestly, that’s how she prefers it. In fact, it’s a requirement for her job.
Brown and the other Des Moines Catholic Workers are all volunteers. They receive room and board at one of the four community houses on the North Side of Des Moines. But they aren’t paid for their work. In fact, they take a vow of poverty to help them better understand and interact with the homeless they serve. Their conviction to live humbly extends even to their funding. The only monetary support they accept comes from the community, not the federal government.
The goal of The Des Moines Catholic Workers is to provide the homeless with a place to take a shower, grab a bite to eat, and interact with someone who cares about them. The volunteers serve meals at regular hours and also provide visitors with free clothing, canned goods from the pantry, a phone to use, and a place to receive their mail.