Volunteering to Recovery

Kevin at the Bloor Central Corps' Community Meal
by juneli
Categories: Divisional News
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By: June Li

After years of battling a drug addiction, Kevin ended up in the hospital. For nearly three months, he was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery. “I was addicted to IV drugs and unfortunately, I had a fungal infection that affected my heart because I was using dirty needles,” Kevin explained.

When Kevin was discharged from the hospital, he was unemployed and had no money. Seeking assistance, the hospital referred Kevin to The Salvation Army food bank. For Kevin, The Salvation Army was a familiar place, “I’ve been to jail many times in the past, and The Salvation Army was always there for me, so I knew that this time would be no different.”

Room at Bloor Central where Community Meals are served

Space at the Bloor Central Corps where community meals are served

For four months, Kevin visited a Salvation Army food bank to help him make ends meet. Hopeful to make a positive change in his life, he began going to Alcoholic Anonymous and was noticeably getting physically and mentally stronger. One day, he ran into Major Doug Hammond the Corps Officer at the Bloor Central Corps, “He asked if I wanted to volunteer at their community meal program and from that day, my life changed.”

 

This simple question changed the course of Kevin’s life. For him, volunteering helped him escape addiction and stay sober. Serving at Bloor Central’s community meals allowed him to focus on others rather than his own struggles. Through the power of volunteering, Kevin no longer felt trapped in addiction; rather he was connecting and building relationships with those in the community. He began to feel a new sense of purpose, make new friends and develop job skills.

“When I first came to Bloor Central, I was in terrible shape,” Kevin explained, “But that was five years ago. Today, I am sober and it is all because of this place.”

Recovering from addiction is a long journey and things like boredom and isolation are common triggers for relapse. But activities such as volunteering can help those in recovery stay busy and build confidence.

As tears filled his eyes, Kevin said, “Volunteering is something that is dear to me. Bloor Central has changed my life and I am so grateful for it.”

For more information on how to volunteer with The Salvation Army, please click here.