Come have a seat at the table with us.
The Well is a community of people committed to living in direct relationships with the poor. In these relationships we find a sense of kinship based not on blood but on grace and hospitality. The Well meets material needs in a way that allows us to meet each other's spiritual needs.
“Needs met, bridges built, a city made whole”
- Jesus’ preferential option for the poor
- The importance of direct relationship, with those we identify with easily, and those we do not.
- A love that is radical in its sacrifice and expression of mercy
- The inherent and God-given dignity of every human being
- Stewardship, and the reality that no one and nothing is trash
- Independence and interdependence, expressed in personal empowerment and responsibility
This work began in 2004 with the formation an intentional Christian community located in Ybor Heights. In the years that followed, our communities efforts to simply be Christian and love our neighbors led to the establishment of a house church that gathered once a week. This diverse gathering of friends from inside and outside the neighborhood turned out to be rich soil.
It was in those meetings that some, who had resources such as time or money, felt compelled to apply what they were learning. With guidance from a few friends who had been living on the street, The Banquet, our thursday night community dinner was born in 2008. That same year the Lake House community began aggressively opening its doors to those we met at our meals to share our shower, washing machine, couches, etc. Also in 2008, we built and planted the Tampa Eden Project’s first community garden and launched our monthly open mic/potluck known as the Conscious Party.
In 2009, when the Underground moved to 7th avenue, they offered our community a space in the building to open our first Family Room and Free Market. As our community grew in capacity and size and as we encountered other needs we did our best to respond as we could. We met many who found housing in the Good Samaritan Inn and so in 2010 a team of us started our Tuesday night meal that we affectionately call “The Good.”
At this point our hands were more than full and we stayed dedicated to building our community for the following several years as we maintained a growing presence in the Underground’s space.
In 2014 the Well incorporated and leased a building at 3023 N Florida Ave where we operated a house of hospitality for the poor until the end of 2016. While in that space our community built many gardens and installed an aquaponics system where we learned to raise Tilapia and produce. We also planted a bike co-op known as the ReCycle Bin where neighbors without transportation can come to build their own bike. This move also put us into the heart of need in Tampa and we more than quadrupled the number of guests that we were seeing on a daily basis. We have since been approved as a 501C3 non-profit, leased our first house for a pilot housing project, started a lawn business, and developed many wonderful partnerships with schools, churches, grocery stores, restaurants, and others throughout our city.
Since we work with neighbors that are not always wanted or loved we, as a community, have also faced some opposition. Shifting demographics have played a significant role in pressuring our community to move a few times now. While that has often been for upsetting reasons, God has always shown us ways to roll with the punches and continue advancing the mission. Even with some occasional hostility from neighbors that are centrally interested in ‘neighborhood beautification’ at seemingly any cost, we have still built a really solid reputation as a loving and sacrificial community that works very hard and leverages every resource available to our shared vision of meeting needs, and building bridges, to see our city made whole.
Join us in pursuit of this shared vision for Tampa, and work with us to build a better future for all of our neighbors.