My son was volunteering to “feed the homeless” through a ministry called Love Bags. I really didn’t think much of it at the time until I saw his continued commitment and passion. “It’s not about the food Dad, it’s about relationships,” he said. I was inspired by my son’s acts of service and compassion. It challenged me to pursue a higher level of personal engagement.
In 2009, I joined Lifework Leadership, a class that confronts business leaders to leverage their time, talents and resources to impact their family, faith and community. A tandem of influences spurred me on to chair the National Christian Foundation of South Florida for the next 4 years.
In 2011, my wife Lynn and I wanted to do more. We saw an opportunity to leverage our experience to a greater degree and founded a food & wine festival fundraiser called the Gridiron Grill-Off… a Collision of Football and Food for a Cause! Soon thereafter, we formed Offerdahl’s Hand-Off Foundation with the mission to “Feed the Needs of Families in Crisis” who are fatherless and homeless. We worked in partnership with business, government, civic and faith-based organizations. We’re proud that, since 2012, Offerdahl’s Hand-Off Foundation, and its fundraiser, the Gridiron Grill-Off Food & Wine Festival, has granted all of its proceeds to support foster care and family homeless agencies across South Florida.
In 2014, Fort Lauderdale passed a city resolution restricting feeding programs in public and soon found itself being criticized by local activists and national media as the “homeless hating” community. My son, by then a sophomore at the University of Miami, was still showing up almost every Tuesday handing out Love Bags and building relationships. But the discord between local government and activists motivated me to try to better understand the root problems of the burgeoning homeless families in Broward County.
Fortunately, after reading the book by Michael Elliott, “Why The Homeless Don’t Have Homes And What To Do About It”, I came to realize there is a glaring problem among homeless communities. Namely, those in poverty have broken relationships between self, family, friends and community, resulting in a lack of a social support system or a social network of restoration available to them. Government and nonprofit agencies are providing homes, case management, interventions, and financial resources, but no amount of money or services is available to restore relationships.
Thus began my journey to find a way Better HOME for the homeless, by leveraging a Committed TEAM capable of creating a Distinct ADVANTAGE for those who are vulnerable and in need of restoration.
Welcome to Home Team Advantage™ Restorative Housing. Providing homes. Restoring lives. Helping families revive and feel like family again!
John Offerdahl, Founder