Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives

Meet My Friends at The Shelter


Someone posted something on Facebook that was, in essence, ‘get a job homeless people’. I’m being almost kind with my description of the post and the photo. I teach a nutrition class every Wednesday at a local Shelter, and invited the person who posted the post to join me and meet some of the people in my class who live at the Shelter. The invitation was declined. I was very nice about my the way- my invitation was very sincere.

Anyway, in case you’ve never been to a Shelter I thought I’d introduce you to some of my friends there. I won’t give their names, of course.

One man is new at the Shelter, and he’s the kind of person that someone might walk around if he was on the street. His eyes look slightly different ways, he has a dramatic limp, and he says things randomly that don’t always pertain to the conversation. So in Wednesday’s class, I did something a little different and we talked about habits. It was a fascinating discussion. I went around and asked everyone if they had a Keystone habit (which is a habit that if changed creates a ripple effect) and this man said he wishes “he was able to control his thoughts a little better and not say things that are inappropriate to the conversation”. That is exactly what he said. On a side note here, I had said that I like a class of red wine in the evenings, but I tend to snack more and need to have a glass of wine less often, and after he talked about wanting to be better in conversation, he then commented on my previous comment and said that I am obviously healthy, have no problem with alcohol and perhaps the resveratrol in the wine was good for me. I could go on-this man is a wealth of information, and very kind. 

Another man also says things that aren’t always appropriate, but he doesn’t know it. He is a big guy who is very religious and loves to work in the fields. He talks about this or that farmer and the way they do things. He has an open friendly face and is just so sweet. I had started the Keystone habit with my good and bad habits (good exercise, bad, limit wine and don’t keep ice cream at home, which I don’t) and this man interrupted and said Patty (he pronounces the t’s in Patty very clearly), you have a great body, you don’t need to change anything. Everyone giggled. I knew what he meant as did everyone else-I look healthy and pretty fit. He never did question the way he put this even after the giggles. 

One woman-also new to the Shelter and my class, had a dramatic injury that left her not knowing who she was for two years. Her memory slowly came back, but medical bills left her with nothing-a very (!!) common reason that many are there. 

There are many people there with mental illness, but some are there because they’ve had a rough patch. Park Avenue to Park bench. It can happen to anyone. 

Thank you for reading. Perhaps these stories were helpful for you in some way.



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