My name is Zeris Meharena. I am starting this fundraiser to help my friend Joseph Kniss. On Dec 26th, 2019, an uninsured motorist struck and totaled Joe's Dodge Ram truck. 12 years of being homeless, he has worked his way up from a shopping cart to that truck. The truck was a major part of his livelihood. Whatever donation or other support you can make would be greatly appreciated by me and Joseph.
Joseph Kniss, known better to me and his friends as "Joe The Scrapper" is one of the hardest working men that I have ever known. Joe has been homeless for over 12 years after losing his job as an Interior Journeyman Carpenter. However, unlike many homeless people, he isn't looking for a free handout. Contrary to what I have seen, he would rather work very hard for what he needs. Joe even goes the extra mile to help others who are in similar circumstances. He attends church regularly and sees the good fortunes that he is blessed with daily.
Joe has told me about how he has scrapped for a long time. There is a documentary called “Scrapping By In America”, that has followed Joe the past 7 years on his journey. All that Joe has ever wanted is to make a living doing what he can for himself. The best way he has found to do this is to get scrapping material and get paid to have it recycled.
Joe is well-known and very liked by the local community here in Lakewood. He started first with a shopping cart, then a bicycle and a trailer he hand-made out of a wheelchair. He used that hand-made trailer with a bicycle for about 7 years. After a short time of success, he was able to get a small pickup truck with a trailer. He was also able to get himself an RV for housing. He was further blessed to find a newer truck and a bigger trailer about six months ago. He was then able to sell the old truck to someone less fortunate.
Joe has attended Bethlehem Lutheran church for the past six years. The church is very significant to Joe, it is where he made the life-changing decision to stop doing hard drugs. He attends church every Thursday night along with other homeless members of the community.
Joe was parked in the church parking lot when his truck was struck. He was meeting with a friend inside the truck when the truck was hit by an uninsured driver. The driver was having an unknown medically related incident. The car that struck Joe was believed to be going about 50mph. Luckily Joe and his friend escaped with minor injuries. The truck was moved about 25ft and ended up striking another parked truck. Joe was thrown from the driver's side to the passenger's side and hit his head and collided with his friend. Joe suffered a concussion. Joe's friend suffered a broken ankle.
Joe had transferred his insurance from his old truck to the new one but didn't have uninsured motorist coverage. His truck is totaled. He is hoping that this fundraiser can help him get back on his feet.
His truck is valued at about $8,000. His current bills are about $900 which includes his Storage, Insurance, Telephone and Rent for his RV.
Joseph has asked me to write the following to thank people who have helped him so far on his journey.
I want to thank a lot of people. One would be Ben who hid me away for 18 months in his backyard. Mark who was instrumental in allowing me to sleep behind his business with electricity while living in the back of my Ford Ranger. I would like to thank Mark Collier who has been instrumental in helping me get ahead by finding the new Dodge Ram for me and such a great discount. He is also the one who is helping me get the tires for my trailer. I would like to thank the filming crew for the documentary. Without their constant observation of my efforts, I don't know what that would be as far as I am today. I am very close to being completely off the streets after 12 years.
Keep in mind I am in jeopardy of losing my established accounts that I have worked so very hard to get and maintain. Such as Blue Sky Plumbing and Heating. As well as many apartment complexes in the Lakewood and surrounding metro area. Many of the accounts I have had for more than 11 years.