The Power of Welcome – Ricky’s Story

04.26.24 | Food for the Soul, Guest Stories, Volunteer Stories

As one of our dedicated volunteers, Ricky loves to make people smile. He knows how important it is because his own journey to healing started with a smile.

Ricky would tell you about Angie, the first person to greet him at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. It wasn’t just that she gave him warm clothes and other essentials, provided by caring donors like you. Angie made sure Ricky knew how glad she was to help him and that she valued him. It was a message he urgently needed back then.

A troubled childhood left many scars that stood between Ricky and stability. Sometimes he couldn’t keep a roof over his head. At times he was even forced to live on the streets. “It’s a very hard life to live,” Ricky says bluntly.

“There was an awakening that came over me when I came here”

Often, he encountered violence while staying in shelters. Sleeping outside came with a constant risk of being attacked and robbed. “Being outside, you had to make plans. You wanted
to know where you could be if it rained.”

Emotionally, life was even harder. “I shut myself off from my family. I didn’t want them to see me that way. I would buy alcohol because I was trying to escape the reality of being homeless. When you’re out in the cold and you have no one to go to, it causes you to lose hope.”

But when Ricky came to Holy Apostles for the first time, Angie and others greeted him with a smile and genuine welcome. “I had lost hope when I was in other places, but when I came here, it was a life changer for me. I felt welcomed sitting at the table. The food was delicious, and you could sit for a while, be comfortable.” He found comfort and support, receiving essentials like clothes and toiletries.

Inspired by the care he received, Ricky now volunteers, motivated by his own experiences: “It makes me love them more, and it makes me love myself more.” We’re grateful for Ricky and all our volunteers who make our guests feel valued every day. And we’re grateful to you for making it all possible!

Kayla Mills

Kayla Mills

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