Eric has always enjoyed helping others – something he saw modeled while growing up in Memphis, Tennessee. His loving parents always encouraged him to do the right thing and taught him the ways of the Lord. Raised with 13 siblings, Eric always loved being around people.
In high school, he started to hang out with the wrong crowd and was pressured to drink and do drugs. Upon graduation, he joined the Navy. “I began to party with the sailors, which caused even more chaos and confusion in my life.”
He returned home from the military and began to alienate himself from his family. They were living a healthy, balanced life and their success left him feeling ashamed. He was crippled by the pressure of the outside world. Eric began to look for comfort in all the wrong places. “I had a fascination with the streets. I always had a job, but drugs and alcohol became important to me, until I got older and realized life was slowly beginning to slip away.”
In 2014, Eric had a massive stroke and was in a coma for three days. This changed his life forever. “When I came out of the coma, I made God a promise, and I made my mom a promise – that I was going to change my life.” Eric left drugs and alcohol behind and committed his life to God.
“I thought it was my surroundings making me unhappy. I didn’t realize that all I had to do was put God at the center of my life to receive true happiness.” Shortly after his stroke, Eric experienced the loss of his mother and five close friends and family members. “Life truly began to feel fleeting.”
Even after experiencing great loss, Eric kept his prayer life strong. “I remember telling myself – this time, I’m not going to crack under the pressure.”
In August of 2018, Eric came to Philadelphia seeking change. He was invited to stay with friends, but upon arrival he found that they were involved with the lifestyle he wanted to get away from. He left and stayed in a motel. When his money ran out, he searched for a place to stay and found Sunday Breakfast.
Eric applied for the Overcomer program shortly after coming to the Mission. “I saw it as an opportunity to help myself and help others. No matter what I did or what kind of lifestyle I lived, I always liked helping people.”
Eric was quickly recognized for his heart for hospitality and was invited to serve at the front desk at the Mission. He is the first face you see when you come to Sunday Breakfast. His kind heart and warm smile makes you feel right at home when you arrive. “I always let everyone know, especially the guests here that God loves us all the same.”
Eric has strengthened his faith since coming to Sunday Breakfast by reading and understanding more about God’s word, leading chapel services, and encouraging others in their time of need.
“I thought I was lucky to find Sunday Breakfast, but then I realized, I didn’t find this place; God sent me here. I try to be a positive influence and best example I can be for other people.” Eric shares with those currently facing struggle, “Give your life to God and everything will be alright.”