Part-time job Steve Howell nj

GoFundMe started for pastor, homeless advocate, whose truck was stolen

After helping a local homeless man find a new camp after a sweeping fire in Ocean County displaced the man earlier this week, Steve Brigham dropped his truck off at a parking lot in Long Branch around midnight, like he often does after a long day of helping those in need.

When he went to get the truck at 7:30 a.m. the next day on March 18 to bring someone to the hospital, the 2007 white Chevy Silverado was now there to be seen, he said.

Community organizers are now rallying together to raise money for the well-known Ocean County pastor and advocate who uses the truck to help set up homeless individuals with camps in the woods, deliver necessities to those in need, and to transport tables and a grill to Sunday community lunches in Lakewood.

“Steve is so self-giving, loving, humble,” said Joanne Marton, who organized a GoFundMe to buy Brigham a new truck. "He gives everything that he has to those in need."

Marton said when she and another community member, Suzy Raabe, heard Brigham’s truck was stolen, it was a no-brainer to try and get him another one after all she said he has done for the area.

"We need to do something because that is absolutely not right," Marton said.

The truck was stolen on March 17, and Brigham said he reported it stolen to the Long Branch police department the next day.

A spokesman for the Long Branch police department did not immediately return a request for comment on if there is an ongoing investigation into the stolen truck.

Brigham runs Destiny’s Bridge, which provides temporary tiny homes to the homeless to help give them "the chance to regain their human dignity in an environment of acceptance and nurturance." Their mission is that each person is "deserving of dignity and validation regardless of their circumstances"

Brigham has become a popular fixture in Ocean County, as he has worked for years to advocate for the county's homeless population. For years, he lived and ran “Tent City” in Lakewood, a homeless community that provides services and other amenities to its population. Despite the encampment moving locations and later closing, Brigham continues to bring food and other necessities to the homeless population across Monmouth and Ocean counties.

He was awarded the Governor’s Jefferson award in 2012 for his volunteerism.

The GoFundMe has raised more than $ 4,000 as of Saturday night.

“When something like this happens and someone steals something it kind of hurts your faith in mankind,” Brigham said. "Then on the other side, the generosity and willing to sacrifice and help out ... it's heart warming."

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.

Joe Atmonavage may be reached at [email protected].

Have a tip? Tell us: nj.com/tips.