Monday, March 18, 2013

A Story of Resurrection

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Tommy overcame  addiction and depression - but without
a job, he couldn't move forward.
In the relatively small kitchen at Catholic Charities Enterprises, big things are happening.

That includes Tommy Spencer. Though standing at 6'3, he moves nimbly between stoves, hot plates and a steel counter covered with hundreds of meals for homebound seniors.

For Tommy, all height jokes aside, working in this kitchen is a big deal. For years, he struggled to live a life that resembled normal. He overcame addiction. He got treatment for his severe depression. Yet Tommy Spencer was still sleeping each night on a shelter bed. 

"I had no place to turn," he said. "I just couldn't find a job."

Tommy's former drug and health problems kept him out of the workforce so long, he couldn't even land a job interview. But finally, Tommy got the "yes" he was praying for from Catholic Charities Food Services, which prepares healthy meals for schools, geriatric care centers, and homebound seniors. 
Food Services staff help prepare and package food for
over 2,000 people each day!

Tommy excelled in his work in the kitchen and grew to love it. He found a lot of value in preparing meals to feed others, taking a deep satisfaction in having the chance to help others.

As we begin the fifth week in Lent, we remember the promise of Easter, the Resurrection. Tommy experienced this hopeful promise himself through employment. "God redeemed me," Tommy said. "He led me to a place of help, during my time of need."

Catholic Charities Food Services employs people with disabilities or mental health challenges that limit their employability - and hold them back from leading an independent life. "Since Catholic Charities gave us this opportunity to work and support ourselves, we're all grateful to pay it forward by helping others, people like senior citizens, who can't get around like we can," Tommy said. 

"I always imagine the food is going
to my own grandmother," Tommy said. 
Each day Tommy and our Food Services team make sure 2,000 people receive a nutritious meal. "I always imagine the food is going to my own grandmother," Tommy said. "I take pride in the food being good and getting it ready on time for people who really depend on it." 

The job changed Tommy's life. With a steady paycheck, he was able to afford his own apartment. "I can't tell you what it means to me," he said.

"Nothing empowers people like a stable job, with living wages," said Scott Lewis, Director of Catholic Charities Enterprises. "Our Food Services gives people who often may be shut out of the job market, an opportunity to contribute to their community while supporting themselves, sometimes for the first time in their lives."

We count on your support to help us empower clients, creating more stories of resurrection like Tommy's. Please make a special Easter gift today to help more men and women like him find hope through employment, housing, education, and more. 

Catholic Charities Enterprises provides employment for adults with disabilities; meals for local schools, community groups and homebound seniors; and a catering service, led by Head Chefs Andrea Johnson and Eric Curry. Learn more here!