Volunteering to Recovery - Salvation Army Canada


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  • Jan29Wed

    Volunteering to Recovery

    A simple question changed the course of Kevin's life. January 29, 2020 by June Li
    Filed Under:
    Faith & Friends
    Kevin, at Bloor Central (Photo: June Li)
    Kevin, at Bloor Central (Photo: June Li)
    Recovering from addiction is a long journey, and Kevin should know.

    “When I first came to Bloor Central, I was in terrible shape,” he says. “But that was six years ago. Today, I am sober and it is all because of this place.”

    And all it took was a question.

    Familiar Refuge
    After years of battling a drug addiction, Kevin ended up in the hospital for nearly three months as he recovered from heart surgery.

    “I was addicted to IV drugs and, unfortunately, I had a fungal infection that affected my heart because I was using dirty needles,” Kevin explains.

    When Kevin was discharged, he was unemployed and had no money. Seeking assistance, the hospital referred him to a Salvation Army food bank.

    For Kevin, The Salvation Army was a familiar place. “I’ve been to jail many times in the past, and The Salvation Army had always been there for me. I knew that this time would be no different.”

    Kevin volunteers at a Salvation Army kettleA happy Kevin takes a turn at a Salvation Army kettle over the holidays
    Life Changer
    For four months, Kevin visited an Army food bank to help him make ends meet. Hopeful to make a positive change in his life, he began going to Alcoholics Anonymous and became physically and mentally stronger.

    One day, he ran into Major Douglas Hammond, the pastor at the Army’s Bloor Central Corps (church) in Toronto.

    “Major Douglas asked if I wanted to volunteer at their community meal program,” he says.

    From that day, this simple question changed the course of Kevin’s life.

    Volunteering helped Kevin escape addiction and stay sober. By serving Bloor Central’s community meals, he was able to focus on others rather than his own struggles. Through the power of volunteering, Kevin no longer felt trapped in addiction; rather, he was connecting and building relationships with people in the community. He began to feel a new sense of purpose, make new friends and develop job skills.

    “Volunteering at Bloor Central is something that is dear to me,” Kevin says, tears filling his eyes. “But more than that, the power of God transformed my life, and made me the person I am today. Bloor Central rejoices in that, and I am grateful.”


    On Wednesday, January 29, 2020, Rebecca Gardner said:

    Absolutely fantastic, my own story is similar _My drinking ended after a devastating full physical and mental breakdown, The Salvation Army stood by me and never gave up on me even in days I had given up on myself... 5 and a half sober years later I am a Salvation Army soldier, in AA, have my family back and am working full time..... At the time I could not understand why it had to be me but now know God sent me my breakdown to give me the break through I needed..... God Bless you Kevin.... God has done for us what we could not do for ourselves


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