What do you do when you have worked your way out homelessness and turned your life around? You help others achieve the same goal, of course. And if you are Julia Zion, you start Nom Prophets.
Nom Prophets was formed in November of this year and is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Nom Prophets has a 6-person Board of Directors who work with Julia towards this goal.
Julia wants to give back for all the help she received along the way. Being homeless and lacking job skills is a vicious cycle. Unless someone takes a chance on hiring you, many doors are closed. Without a job, you cannot afford basic necessities like food and shelter. Without a permanent residence, it is hard to get a job.
As Julia pointed out in our interview, there are jobs in the food industry and with some training and experience those jobs can be had.
This new venture is an extension of what Julia has been doing for the last several years serving meals to the poor/homeless and helping in shelters. Julia’s ultimate goal is to expand on those kinds of services through the use of food in the general area of food and food services. Pottstown residents may remember the meals at Washington Street Park, for example.
The short-range goal is to buy a food truck through fundraising. It would either be new or a retrofitted truck, depending on the results of the fundraising. Zion hopes they can get a food truck operational by the summer.
By going out and using the food truck she hopes to fund the nonprofit. The food truck will also enable Nom Prophets serve the poor in parks, churches and or shelters. Food trucks are certified and inspected kitchens which guarantee food safety and permit issues (in many cases).
There are several ways Nom Prophets is trying to raise money. They are selling homemade salsa, which you can buy at iCreate Café, 130 King Street, Pottstown and Daniel’s Produce and Dairy at 219 High Street, Pottstown. They also hope to have gift baskets available in the near future.
Nom Prophets is scouting other locations, in the Berks County area, to sell their salsa and gift baskets. If your business or organization would like to stock these items, you can contact Nom Prophets. They would be glad to work with you!
Having experienced homelessness herself, Julia feels people need compassion, stability and a self-esteem boost. Being poor, disadvantaged and/or homeless is demoralizing. The shelter system is temporary and there is no sense of stability. This causes anxiety and low self-esteem.
Julia found a new sense of self-worth and happiness once she was gainfully employed and had her own place to live. She wants to help others find their way out of homelessness and poverty so they can lead full, productive and happy lives. After all, we are talking about human beings. Human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
The common misconception is that people in these circumstances do not want to work and are lazy. The problem is without job skills, and in many cases experience, you are unemployable. You cannot be self-supporting on minimum wage. Without skills you cannot get a better paying job.
Another employment barrier is the cost of obtaining a Safe Serve certification. Having this certification helps you land a job and command more money in the food industry. However, it can cost several hundred dollars.
For many, this may not seem like much money. But if you have no money, it might as well be a million dollars. Nom Prophets wants to help people get this certification along with teaching them knife skills and giving them experience in a professional kitchen so they can apply for a get a job in the food industry that pays a living wage.
The long-range goal would be to eventually have a brick and mortar location with a professional kitchen, restaurant and housing for those in the program while they train.
You can contact Nom Prophets on Facebook if you would like to buy their products, sell their products, donate or see if there is any way you can help out by clicking https://www.facebook.com/NomProphets/