“I was at a crossroads. It was either end it, or keep fighting and see what’s the unknown in front of me.”Justin stood on the edge of a bluff, ready to say goodbye to this life. He had never felt such despair in all of his life. For the past three weeks, home had been the streets. He had just gotten robbed of the last of his money and his drinking was way out of control. It had gotten so bad his body rejected everything. But Justin couldn’t shake the craving for his next fix. For eight years, Justin’s life veered around this vicious cycle. Now, Justin inched closer to the edge of the bluff. Closing his eyes, he prepared for the final drop. Justin describes what happened next: I took a step, but the wind blew me back. I tried again, and the same thing happened again. Then it happened again, but the wind was stronger and it blew me on my backside. I said, “God, I don’t believe you. I can’t believe this is happening.” It was at that moment Justin felt a hand on his shoulder a voice inside his head say, “I do love you. I have a plan for you. Just give me your heart.” At that point, I broke down. The burden, the shame, and guilt pulled off me. With the help of an old friend, Justin found his way to Orange County Rescue Mission. “When I was told I was in, I just started crying.” He knew that volunteer work was a big part of the Mission’s program. He wanted to volunteer “anywhere but the kitchen,” so of course that’s where he ended up. “I became a leader back there,” said Justin. “I started out washing dishes. Then, they asked me if I wanted to try the position of supervisor. They were creating a new position. So I went from dishwasher to breakfast lead, to dinner lead.” Today, Justin not only manages the meal preparation, he also oversees food safety inspections, student training, and other day-to-day operations. Justin is thankful he got put exactly where he needed to be.
“I became a leader back there for people to depend on. I also train people and help people with their weaknessess and turn them into strentghs. The kitchen is the best place to come if you want to change, to learn about yourself and how to communicate with others.”Today Justin is hoping to use his kitchen management experience to find full-time employment in food services. Make a donation today to help more people find the hope to start again.
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