Last week I struggled to open the door of our Breakthrough Mens' Center. The wind was whipping. I was hungry and it was cold. I managed to open the door and was immediately engulfed by warmth and the most wonderful smell of food. I’m not sure what was going on in the kitchen, but it smelled like Charlene had been cooking all morning, like thanksgiving dinner was in the oven. There was even the hint of brownies baking.
You know the feeling. It’s the feeling of being home. It’s warm and inviting and you know someone is creating something in the kitchen that is going to make your day very special.
I couldn’t help but think about the men huddled in the gathering place. Thirty of them had spent the night at Breakthrough and seventy more had come in from the cold, like I had. They may have slept in an abandoned building or in the park or doubled up on a friend’s floor. I knew this day they would experience the warmth of good food, friendship and support. It’s not the same as having your own place with your own stove and kitchen, but, today, they would know that they were loved and cared for. Today, they would know they were special. I knew the same thing was happening down the street at our women’s center.
Of course, the mission of Breakthrough goes beyond food. We surround our guests with supportive services that will hopefully, some day, get them into their own homes. But for now, at Breakthrough, they know they are special. They have found a home, a place to belong where people know their name.
As the temperatures drop and you enter your own home, reflect upon what it would be like to not have that experience of going home.