Joseph Badame has spent decades preparing to save friends and family from an inevitable doomsday – but now, he will be saving a different group of people instead.
The 74-year-old architect of Medford, New Jersey had spent the last 40 years collecting survival supplies for the bomb shelter in his basement. He and his wife Phyllis had accumulated enough non-perishable food and resources to feed and house at least 100 people in the event of a worst-case scenario.
The $1 million bomb shelter came equipped with a survival library, showers, coal furnaces, kerosene refrigerators, toilets, washers, and driers. Though doomsday never happened, the neighbors were always grateful for the resources whenever there was a power outage.
But after Phyllis died in 2013 and the bank foreclosed on his home last month, Badame became heartbroken over how his survival project would never be put to its intended use.
During the closing sale of the property, however, Badame found a new purpose.
30-year-old Victoria Martinez-Barber was providing catering for the estate sale last month when she met the elderly architect. She explained how all of the sales from her and her husband’s food truck would help provide relief for her family in Puerto Rico.
Over the years, Badame had collected dozens of 300-pound barrels filled with food, each of which had the capacity to feed 84 people for four months. The architect had originally expected all of the barrels to be thrown away – but instead, he offered to donate it all to Martinez-Barber’s family in Puerto Rico.
“Phyliss and I prepared all this for one group of people and it turns out it’s going to help another group of people. That’s wonderful,” Badame told NJ.com.
Additionally, since befriending Martinez-Barber and her husband, he has since been “adopted” into their family. He now resides in an RV in their backyard – and though it marks the start of an unfamiliar new era of his life, Badame says he is delighted to have found a new purpose in helping those less fortunate.
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