Cindy Stevens is the executive director of the Claremont Soup Kitchen in Claremont, NH. Every day she works to help her neighbors get back on their feet. During a house call, she shared one story that has an important lesson for us all.
This summer, I was lucky enough to meet an incredible individual with tremendous strength. He came to the Claremont Soup Kitchen, not only hungry, but tired as well, both emotionally and physically. He was at bottom, a man who was once a community voice, married with four beautiful children and a loving home.
He arrived in what he refered to as his house: a four-door sedan. He was looking for something, anything, to eat. Even though the soup kitchen does not serve lunch, the need was very apparent. Soon after, he was sitting at a table with a sandwich and coffee, finally able to fill his stomach after what must have felt like an eternity without food. He soon became a familiar face, a part of our family. Over the rest of the summer, he experience even more hardships: parking lot hopping, multiple job trials, drug use, and his car breaking down.
After the loss of his car, he was left without shelter, which made him feel even more scared and vulnerable. He was given a tent and found a local spot to set up camp, but his resources had become incredibly limited. He often had to check local drive-through‘s for change just to get something to settle his stomach.
He told me: “I felt like I was at the bottom of the ladder again, which began to feel comfortable. I learned to believe that the further down you are, the shorter the distance the fall.”
We lost touch with this courageous man, but a few weeks ago he returned after finally finding a place at the local shelter.
“You wouldn’t believe it,” he said. “I have a warm place to sleep, I can cook a meal and even wash my clothes.” The look of promise on his face was priceless. He thanked me for all we have done and for providing him with strength through a meal and friendship. Through his tears, he left me with one last statement: “It is only until you have nothing, that you realize something is everything.” His story reminded me that anything can happen in a moments notice. Don’t take anything for granted, and help those in need when you are capable as he did; you never know when the favor may need to be returned
His story reminded me that anything can happen in a moment's notice. Don't take anything for granted and help those in need when you are capable as he did; you never know when the favor may need to be returned.