Mission to go on auction block
PUNTA GORDA — The Bread of
Life mission, a way station for this region’s homeless people since 2000,
is scheduled to be auctioned off
July 20 to satisfy a $110,000 foreclosure judgment, a court has ordered.
Despite the loss of the compound’s real estate, mission founder Judy Jones vowed Friday to continue tending to the destitute, even if she has to deliver their sustenance to the woods where they’ll be scattered.
“I’m not going to tell you I’m not crying on the inside,” Jones said. “It’s wearing me down. But it’s also building me up because of my faith in God. I could not have made it had it not been what God wanted me to do.”
Jones pointed out many of her clients get dropped off by hospitals, churches, group homes, jails, prisons and other shelters. “You aforementioned organizations who avail of our community service, where are your financial donations and funding to settle this financial obligation?” Jones wrote in a recent email to the Sun.
Twentieth Circuit Judge George Richards, in a June 21 order, set the sale of the mission’s three-building compound at 6454 Scott St., for 11 a.m.
The order came about four years after mortgage holder Bill Spurgeon of Boca Grande first filed for foreclosure. The court initially set the auction for November 2011, but that was postponed after Jones filed bankruptcy.
This wouldn’t be the first time the mission seemingly had lost everything. In the late 1990s, the mission was located in two mobile homes a block away until those buildings burned down.
Jones was born in 1948 in a house next to the mission where her parents, John and Elizabeth Lloyd, founded Punta Gorda’s first “underground” homeless shelter, Jones said.
She recalled as a child she would wash rags that her mother used to tend to injured homeless people.
“This one particular case got to my heart and exposed me to the woods,” Jones said.
That case was a black man named “Mr. David” who would get dropped off at the Lloyd house every Friday. Each time, the man would have fresh bullwhip wounds on his back, according to Jones.
After her parents died, Jones gave Mr. David a ride to a large homeless camp in North Port. She soon began delivering food to those people, she said.
“To ease my conscience, I began cooking for them,” she said. “I’d stop along the road and blow a whistle, and they’d come.”
Spurgeon, a mission supporter, bought the mission’s current site and donated it to the mission. The mortgage was drawn up after the fact, Jones said. “He never charged me a dime,” Jones said.
However, Spurgeon filed for foreclosure after discovering that Jones had failed to pay property taxes.
Those at the mission Friday included Phillip George, 28, of Cleveland, Ohio. Diagnosed with a personality disorder, George said he was referred to the Bread of Life by his caseworker at the David Lawrence mental health center in Naples. George said he’ll be transferred soon to a group home in Holiday, Fla.
“The mission has good people and good food,” George said. “It could use some new air conditioners, though.”
Other residents included 81-year-old Truscott Peycke of South Africa. Peycke lived in Port Charlotte with his wife until Hurricane Charley destroyed their home. His wife died a year ago, and Peycke suffers from a serious ankle infection.
He said he considered moving to the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition, but rejected the idea because the coalition is closed during business hours.
Asked where he’ll go, Peycke replied, “I don’t know, but I won’t be able to live in the woods, I don’t think.”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Truscott, we have a place for you,” Jones said.
“I will not forsake them,” she said.
Donations can be sent to the mission at P.O. Box 511352, Punta Gorda, FL 33950.