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Story by Christina Tecson, administrative associate at the Ecumenical Hunger Program.
The Ecumenical Hunger Program has been helping people in the community for more than 40 years. David is one of the many people who credits EHP for playing a significant role in allowing him a fresh start after a difficult period in his life.
Two years ago, David's life looked very different from what it's like today. He was referred to EHP by Our Common Grounds, a treatment program for adults with substance abuse and mental health issues.
After serving some time in a San Mateo County jail, David came out with nothing. He needed everything from food and clothing to household essentials.
David described the bleakness of his reality: "When I came out of jail, I only had shoes and a T-shirt. EHP treated my needs with personal attention. They pulled aside clothes in my size and provided me with food.
"For 10-months I received food and support from EHP, until I could get my feet on the ground. The staff at EHP was very nice, helpful, and extremely welcoming. They gave me some dignity, and made me feel important."
David, humbled by his experienced, had a strong desire to give back to the community so he started volunteering at EHP. A carpenter by trade, his work ethic and problem-solving abilities enabled him to help in many areas at EHP, and he became a volunteer leader during the 2014 holiday season.
"He was one of our regular volunteers around the holidays and was an amazing help," EHP staff member LaKesha Roberts said. "He needed very little instruction and helped direct other volunteers."
David remembers his volunteer experience at EHP fondly: "I enjoyed the fact that I had the chance to give back because I was so fortunate to get help."
David is proud of what he has accomplished during the past two years and his life is on a better path. He is proud to say that for the first time in his life, he has been employed with the same company for an entire year and is a model employee.
"I'm the first one there and last one to leave," he said.
He is 2.5 years into recovery, has purchased a new car, lives in a house in San Francisco, has welcomed a new baby, and is engaged to be married. David has been able to turn his life completely around.
He never imagined that he would ever be an active member of the volunteer community, a dedicated father and soon to be husband to an amazing and supportive woman.
David is extremely grateful to EHP for being an integral part of the turnaround that his life has taken: "EHP was a big part of that," he said. "I don't know where I would be without them."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (650) 323-7781 for more information. The address is: Ecumenical Hunger Program, 2411 Pulgas Ave., East Palo Alto, CA 94303.