Living alone under the 509 bridge, Jeff found himself desperate to escape the streets. But he didn’t know how to turn his life around.
“You wake up in the morning and think, ‘Okay, what do I do?’ You don’t know where or when you’ll be able to use the bathroom or shower. You’re just out there wandering,” Jeff shares.
As the days and nights dragged on, he felt like everyone had lost hope in him. And he was quickly losing hope in himself, too.
“People could tell I was homeless because I had my backpack, I hadn’t shaved, and my hair was long,” Jeff explains.“I felt totally alone. I mean, I felt like scum. I just walked around with my head down.”
“It was humiliating and shameful. It just felt like there was no way out of that,” he emotionally adds.
Although living on the street made his feelings of shame, loneliness and worthlessness much heavier, they didn’t start there.
As a child, Jeff was abused. No one ever helped him face that trauma. For years, it ate away at him.
“I just never felt good enough. I never felt worthy. I had no sense of self. I lived in constant fear,” Jeff says sadly.
“I turned to drugs and alcohol just to seek relief and feel safe. Then it just got worse and worse.”
It got so bad that Jeff lost his home and his family. His relationships with his wife and children were badly impacted.
Jeff spiraled out of control. He even ended up being sentenced to prison after robbing a bank.
After he got out of prison, he had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. His children didn’t even know him anymore.
So, Jeff found himself living on the streets.He felt completely alone and worthless — and he was hungry. So hungry.
“You’re out there starving and so you just want some food,” he remembers. “You just don’t know where it’s going to come from.”
But then, God led Jeff to the Mission, where he was offered a bed for the night and a hot, home-cooked meal.
“Having a meal, something warm. It’s more than comforting,” Jeff shares.“It makes you think, ‘I at least have something good to eat.’ It takes away from the badness, the grayness.”
After staying a few nights, and enjoying some more hot meals, Jeff decided to join the Mission’s New Life Recovery Program.
Through our recovery program, Jeff was able to face his addiction and past trauma head on. He’s now 10 months sober!
On top of that, Jeff’s relationship with God is closer than ever. He has supportive relationships with mentors, sponsors, and friends. AND has a job he loves!
“God and the Mission have taken what society would deem — and what I thought of — as just a lifeless, pathetic drunk who had just ruined his life, and changed me into a decent, caring, loving, responsible man and father,” Jeff passionately shares.
“I have a chance to be a dad today. I can work again. I go to church,” Jeff continues. “The biggest thing the Mission gave me is hope. Then it gave me the tools to live a decent, respectable life. The Mission pulled me out of the muck and the mire. They just opened their arms, just like Jesus does, and said, ‘Come in.’”
The generosity of friends like you helped Jeff step into a whole new life. Will you help another hurting and hungry neighbor?
Every $2.38 meal you give matters, because each meal you give can help change a life like Jeff’s!