At his home in Loveland, Earnest shared about his experience at the Mission’s Thanksgiving banquet. “It’s the love people show that’s special,” he says. “It reminds us to be thankful to God for allowing us to sit down to a good meal.”

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For many of us, Thanksgiving is a time filled with laughter, fun and maybe a little overeating. Sometimes people gather around the table and share the things they’re thankful for, like family and friends, a good place to live or a job they enjoy.

But for those experiencing homelessness in our community, Thanksgiving can be a difficult time. It’s hard to be thankful in the search for shelter each night, the stress of looking for a job or the struggle against the influences of drugs and alcohol.

Take Earnest, for example. Drugs, alcohol and abuse were a regular part of his formative years in Denver, and the patterns he learned growing up followed him into adulthood. His mother passed away when he was in his late twenties, and he sank deeper into addiction and depression.

Shortly after that, Earnest gave false information to a pawn shop—a felony that landed him three months in jail. Behind bars, he read the Bible regularly and eventually prayed that God would forgive him and change his heart through a relationship with Jesus.

But after he got out of jail, he returned to his old life. He was homeless again, and his addictions continued to control him despite his desire for a growing relationship with the Lord. “I was on a bike with no chain—going nowhere,” he says shaking his head.

Nearly twenty years later, Earnest finally joined a rehabilitation program in Denver, got a job and moved in with a family member. But in the fall of 2014, a conflict forced him to move out, and he was homeless again.

He knew he could find help at many of the shelters in Denver, but he didn’t want to be around the places and relationships that were negative influences in his life. He wanted something new, so he came to Fort Collins Rescue Mission to find a fresh start.

As a Steps to Success program graduate, Earnest looks back at Thanksgiving at Fort Collins Rescue Mission fondly. He entered the program on his birthday in September last year and says celebrating Thanksgiving with the staff and program participants at the Mission was encouraging. “The food is good,” he says, “but it’s the love people show that’s special. It reminds us to be thankful to God for allowing us to sit down to a good meal.” Today, he lives in Loveland and works at a moving and storage company, the same job he found in the Steps to Success program.

This year, we’ll continue to share God’s love with those experiencing homelessness and poverty in our community at our Thanksgiving Banquet.

But the holiday meal and opportunity for people to begin changing their lives at the Mission is only possible because of the generous support of donors like you. Thank you for making the holidays special for our homeless and struggling friends and neighbors!

CLN October 2015

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Earnest's story was featured in the October 2015 issue of Changing Lives titled "A Reason To Be Thankful"

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