When Life Came Crashing Down

Peter baking in the kitchen of the Journey to Life Centre
by SalvationArmy.ca

The day Peter’s wife passed away, he learned his job as a chef was being eliminated. Then he was diagnosed with macular degeneration, which is irreversible vision loss. When he contacted The Salvation Army he was hopeless and without a home. “I had nowhere to turn,” says Peter. “The Salvation Army helped me get on track again.”

In his early teens, Peter was told he would never achieve anything in life. He eventually got in trouble with the law and by age 16 served time in the penitentiary. “Alcohol abuse lead to criminal activity,” says Peter. “I hung out with gangs and looked up to people I shouldn’t have.”

While in the penitentiary Peter received visits from The Salvation Army and, after his release, he turned to the organization for help to overcome his alcohol addiction.

Meanwhile, Peter met a chef who challenged him on his lifestyle and future. Peter soon took an interest in cooking, went to chef school and worked in five-star hotels. A few years ago, when Peter was offered a position at a retirement residence that included housing, he and his wife jumped at the chance.

“The Salvation Army gave me another chance at improving my life,” says Peter.

“My wife was my rock and my greatest supporter,” says Peter. “When she passed away, a part of me died and life started to go downhill again.”

After his wife’s death, Peter gave away all of his belongings and travelled. “I was running from my grief,” says Peter. “I knew I had to deal with it.”

Peter was in Thunder Bay, on his way to the Yukon for a job in the mines, when he realized he had a problem with his eyes. “My vision was distorted. I knew there was something wrong.” Familiar with The Salvation Army and their services, Peter went to the Journey to Life Centre, a shelter for men. There, he had a roof over his head and medical care arranged by the staff.

“The Salvation Army is more than a shelter,” says Peter. “They connected me to critical medical services and helped me get into my own apartment. I’m also baking for the Centre and am teaching a cooking class in their transitional housing unit.

“The Salvation Army gave me another chance at improving my life,” says Peter.  “They never judged me. When I asked for help, they were there to give it to me.”