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Richard’s hope story: “I felt like I was being handed a lifeline”

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Friends like you helped Richard regain his health and find renewed purpose in life

When Richard first arrived at The Bowery Mission, he was severely malnourished and teetering on the brink of eviction. Within our compassionate community, he received care when he needed it the most — and found a path toward a brighter future including financial stability and secure housing. Hear from Richard, as he shares his transformative journey in his own words.

My name is Richard and my journey has taken me from the Bronx to Queens and back, with a life that has seen its fair share of twists and turns. As a boy I lived a fun outdoor life, full of adventure and time spent outdoors. The Botanical Gardens and Bronx Zoo were favorite spots. But life has a way of leading you away from what you love.

I spent most of my adult life away from nature and immersed in the world of retail sales. By age 65, I was living a very isolated life. My family was gone, and I was quite alone. Every day was an endless cycle of work and solitude, and physical demands at work were taking a toll on my body. It felt like I was trying to keep up with a 25-year-old me.

Struggling in the face of COVID-19

When the pandemic hit, life got even harder. The business I worked for suffered. When I eventually got COVID-19 myself, it hit my body so hard that for a long time I never bounced back. As my health deteriorated, my work hours shrank, and I felt pressure to stay home to prevent spread. Ultimately, I made the difficult decision to leave work.

With each passing day, I felt myself growing more despondent. My once steady financial situation had grown dire and my landlord was demanding rent. Because of the eviction moratorium, I wasn’t put out right away. But I struggled to afford food, and my health declined further.

Handed a lifeline when I needed it most

My life took a major turn for the better when Sister Ruth [a friend of The Bowery Mission and program partner] approached me at a food outreach hosted by St. Fidelis Roman Catholic Church. She encouraged me to join the Residential Program at The Bowery Mission. I felt like I was being handed a lifeline.

In May of 2022, I arrived at The Bowery Mission severely malnourished, yet determined to make the most of the opportunity. I was putting my life in someone else’s hands for a while, because it hadn’t been working out on my own.

The Mission was a major improvement from my previous situation. I had all the food I could want and I no longer had to worry about eviction. The staff were kind, and the more I got to know them, the more we connected. With support from my case manager, Rev. Al Camacho, I began working toward new life goals. I wanted the security of knowing my needs would always be met, even if working was no longer an option.

Richard outside The Bowery Mission as he shares his HopeStory

Faith renewed

I persevered at The Bowery Mission, working toward renewed health, financial stability and secure housing. Though as a confirmed Catholic I had never lost faith in God, my faith was reinforced by the daily chapel services and Spiritual Formation classes. I felt that God was guiding me through the maze of my life.

I graduated from The Bowery Mission in early October 2023. Today, I live in a senior living community in a tranquil neighborhood north of the city. I have slowed down and learned to appreciate the natural beauty around me again.

Richard shares how he graduated from The Bowery Mission in his HopeStory

Multiplied blessings

Like I said, I always had faith and hope, but now they’re magnified. I don’t see an end to them. I’ve learned not to limit my expectations, and my blessings have multiplied in ways I never expected. When asked what wisdom I’d give to others, I would say, “Keep your eyes and ears open, be patient and don’t let your mind race ahead of you.” In the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

You can help others find a fresh start and true hope

Your support helps give people like Richard the opportunity to stand on their feet again and to flourish. Thank you for your compassion that makes the life-changing work of The Bowery Mission possible!