NightShift has been blessed to befriend many people in our 17 years reaching out to people struggling with homelessness, poverty, addictions and mental illness.
Some friends, we have lost touch with over the years. And some friends, like Michael, we meet again, in surprising and inspiring ways.
Michael had experienced homelessness for about 20 years, as he struggled with life-consuming drug and alcohol addiction. There were times he would try to find sleep anywhere – drug houses, bank machine booths, and even inside clothing bins.
“It was just a horrible way to live,” remembers Michael. “From the outside, you don’t see all that a person is going through. Near the end of my addiction, I really struggled in my mind with paranoia – that was the worst part. You see a lot of bad stuff on the street.”
It was during those years that Michael would come to NightShift for a hot meal, and to connect with people.
“I would go to NightShift for dinner and mingle with people, and talk,” says Michael. “I might not have said it much back then, but I was always so grateful for NightShift.”
Several years ago, Michael quit coming to our outreach meal, and we lost touch with him — until last fall. That’s when NightShift began serving residents of an emergency shelter hotel in Langley, run by Lookout Housing and Health Society.
Michael was outside our food truck that first night, waiting to say hello. And this time, his life’s circumstances told a very different story — one of recovery, and one of giving back. You see, Michael is not a resident at the emergency shelter, he is the supervisor!
No longer in the grips of addiction or living rough on the street, Michael has worked hard to achieve almost 10 years of recovery, is engaged to the woman of his dreams and has a relationship with his kids. And, he is committed offering hope to people struggling like he once was.
Michael is always ready to share his story, and show people that recovery is real. He says the hot meals and kindness provided by NightShift teams can be an important part of the journey.
“I don’t even know how to express my gratitude for you,” Michael shares. “NightShift is so good. It could just be there for someone at a particular moment and change their life forever.”
You can help change the lives of people in need, like Michael once was. We invite you to be part of sharing hope and a hot meal by considering a monthly gift in support of NightShift’s outreach ministry.