Kevin loves to cook! His passion for cooking started when he was twelve years old. Despite being the youngest of five, Kevin prepared dinner for his family while his mom worked. In the family’s three-story Philadelphia row home, he watched his Aunt Mildred make meals. Through trial and error, he made southern comfort food for his family – black-eyed peas, collard greens, and fried chicken – just the way his Aunt did.
Although Kevin’s childhood was filled with good food, he didn’t always have a good life. His father passed away due to a heart attack when he was just a child, and when he was in 11th grade Kevin dropped out of high school in order to work full-time. Kevin started drinking at a young age; and the stresses of supporting his family caused him to drink more heavily. Even now, Kevin battles addiction every day.
“I wanted to run the streets,” he said with a thoughtful look on his face. “I used drugs. I dealt drugs. If I honestly think about it, I should be dead. I’m not going to go into all the things I’ve done; it’s just between me and the Lord.”
Kevin was drawn to street life. Despite this, he was able to hold down several jobs before he was let go early last year for health related absences.
Losing his job created a domino effect in Kevin’s life. He used up his savings and was evicted when he didn’t have anything left. Kevin’s older sister generously let him stay with her but reluctantly kicked him out because he could not find employment.
“I didn’t know where I was going to go,” he said, remembering the night his sister threw him out last February. “I walked from Cottman Avenue to Center City. I was hoping to stay at a shelter on Ridge Avenue, but when I got there it wasn’t there. I sat in the cold and cried. I prayed and asked God to help me. I knew I would probably have to sleep on the streets and figure out something the next day. I got up and started walking, and it just so happened that I saw a police officer and he directed me to Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission.”
Kevin said God was looking out for him that day. He came to the Mission and never had to sleep on the streets. Kevin only planned to stay for a month, but after speaking with Chaplain Bruce, he decided to join the long-term Overcomers Program.
“I was going in the wrong direction, but God intervened in my life,” he said. “I tried everything else and it hadn’t worked for me. I decided to try this, and it has been working out great.”
As an Overcomer, Kevin loves reading his Bible and spending time with the Lord. He also enjoys serving God by working in the kitchen and assisting with meal preparations. He is a Crew Chief and is happy when he can help take care of others in need of a meal. While caring for others, Kevin is also taking care of himself. Since arriving last winter, Kevin earned a ServSafe certificate, graduated from the Philabundance Community Kitchen program, and was recently hired as a cook at a retirement facility.
Kevin has learned the importance of being humble and honest with himself. He is proud of his accomplishments so far and is excited about the future God has for him.
“Before Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission I felt my life was out of control,” he said. “But now I feel my life is on the right track.”