Anthony had his first drink at nine years old. 

The feeling it gave him felt like an escape from the rough childhood he was living in. It was an escape that he continued to crave.

“It’s like it was already set in stone at that moment,” he shares. “My body was like, ‘That’s a feeling we need to get back to.’”

Years later he found himself battling alcoholism.

By the time Anthony found his way to the Mission for help, he’d been drinking for decades. 

He lost his home and his family. He was left to live out of his truck.

“It was really uncomfortable sleeping in my truck. I never knew if I was going to be safe or not,” Anthony shares. 

“It all went downhill fast. I was in my house, waking up and making my family breakfast, going to work. Then, I lost it all. I’d never been in a situation like that before.”

Anthony desperately needed help, but he didn’t know where to turn.

“I didn’t even know there were places like the Mission. I didn’t know where to go for a meal,” he says. “It was depressing not having fresh, home-cooked meals, the kind I always made for my family at home.”

Anthony was still working while homeless. He sent as much money as he could to his fiancé and kids. At times, that meant he couldn’t afford food or gas.

“I was in my car, and it was getting colder. Keeping warm was very expensive,” he says.

Thankfully, a friend told him that he could get food and help at the Tacoma Rescue Mission. 

With nothing to lose, he drove straight there with the little gas he had left. When Anthony got to the Mission, he was greeted with a hot meal. 

Just being able to sit down and take a bite of delicious, home-cooked food gave him hope.

“The staff really takes the time to engage with people. And the first line of connecting is usually food,” Anthony shares. 

After enjoying a few meals here, Anthony found out about and joined our recovery program. 

“The program is making it easier to get back on my feet. It’s helping me better myself,” he says.

As part of the program, Anthony began doing work therapy in the kitchen, helping to serve other guests experiencing homelessness. Having been on both sides of the food line, he’s so grateful to be able to dish out the same hope he received when he first got here. 

“Food can change your reality,” he says. “It gives you the hope you need to keep going. Because if you can fill a stomach, you can change someone’s world. It changed mine.”

Today, Anthony is 5 months sober. He’s working on reconciliation with his fiancé and his kids. Knowing that someday they’ll be back together as a family again. 

Will you give a life-changing thanksgiving meal today and help change the life of someone like Anthony?

Every $2.38 Thanksgiving meal you give can change a life like Anthony‘s!