We sat down with a current client of Mercy Community Church – Herman. Herman is on a journey of rehab and recovery, and Mercy is there for him through the process. Herman laughed as he told us, “You know, you can’t have recovery your way. You can’t. It’s not going to work. But I’m blessed to be in a community church who loves me. They help me through the process.”
Herman added, “And I’ve got food! I see you guys, and I get veggies and stuff, fruits to take home.” We asked Herman what he liked to take from Concrete Jungle, and he said, “Potatoes, carrots. I’ll go back and make a salad. I’m a fan of salads. See, I worked in a restaurant before this. I learned how to do prep and how to make a meal stretch. Concrete Jungle helps you stretch a meal. Whoever came up with the idea, came up with a pretty good idea. Because it serves the community.”
Herman has picked up various food skills throughout his life. He told us that his grandmother had a garden growing up, so he learned a lot from her. When he was in rehab, he stayed at an eight-acre farm. He explained, “We grew corn, tomatoes, beans – all kinds of stuff. I used to go out there every day and pick a bucket of stuff to bring to the kitchen and help to make a meal out of it.” When Herman lived on the streets, he talked about how they used to cook a whole meal on top of a fire barrel, “you learn certain survival skills out here on the streets. You learn how to make do without resources.”
These days, Herman is in recovery, living in permanent housing, and he gets most of his food from Mercy – including the fresh produce from Concrete Jungle. He doesn’t take that for granted.
Herman told us, “The thing with Mercy is learning to stay in the process. You just show up for yourself every day, because that’s a part of my recovery. I try to stay around the community, because they’ve got my best interest. That’s how you stay in recovery. You’ve got to stay connected.”
At the end of our conversation, Herman said, “We take things for granted here in America. We don’t realize all the resources that we have. I try not to take things for granted, even though I was living on the streets. All people want is a better life, a chance at life. I understand that. Just a chance at life.”
As we round out another fruitful year, we need your help. You – our community – are critical to CJ’s success. We rely on you to help us harvest the fruits of local trees. And we rely on you to donate the fruits of your own labor, so that we can get more produce to people who need it.
Your donation at the end of the year will support CJ as we draw the map to the future. With your help, we will increase our capacity to meet the nutrition needs of communities experiencing food insecurity.
Will you help us map the way to a fruitier future by making a gift to Concrete Jungle before the year is up? Please make a gift so that we can keep getting delicious, nutritious food to folks like Herman: donorbox.org/mapthefruit