9 Food Drive: Nourishing body, soul

9 Food Drive: Nourishing body, soul

“I knew when I came here, that after a few days, I was in a good place. It was the place I needed to be,” said Ohenrico Blake, food service manager at Charlotte Rescue Mission’s Rebound for Men program.

Blake oversees the food preparation for over 100 men enrolled in the drug and alcohol recovery program. On an average day, Blake and his team of cooks, made up of volunteers and residents, prepare about 300 meals for residents. On holidays, when their kitchen is open to the public, they can expect to make about 1,200 meals for community members.

Charlotte Rescue Mission is one of over 700 partner agencies receiving food from Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Second Harvest annually distributes over 50 million pounds of food and other items to shelters, soup kitchens and pantries throughout a 19-county service region.

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“I have about 12 guys that work in here. When they come through that door, I get their name and we talk. We start to learn each other and understand each other,” he said.

Charlotte Rescue Mission focuses on transforming the lives of individuals struggling with addiction, poverty, and hopelessness. Like many of their programs, the 120-day Rebound for Men program teaches its residents, through counseling and education, how to develop a deep understanding of their problems and manage life scenarios that can trigger relapse.

“When you suffer from the disease of addiction, you have something in common and that puts us on the same playing field,” said Blake.

Blake described the program as a life-saving experience. “Had I not come here or had I not sought help elsewhere, I’d be dead. You get to live here, they provide shelter, food, medical attention, teaching and faith based ministries. I don't have anything but gratitude for that.”

After completing the program, Blake received a job in the kitchen at Charlotte Rescue Mission, which ultimately led him to leading the kitchen staff. “I like what I do. I like to see people smiling, laughing and eating. When we see that, all is well,” said Blake.

From April 29 to June 8, you can donate canned or nonperishable food during the 9 Food Drive.

Because the Food Bank supplies food and essential grocery items to hundreds of agencies, a monetary donation helps all of these organizations. For every $1 the food bank receives, they distribute seven pounds of food. You can donate now by clicking on this link.

You can also donate nonperishable and canned food at any WSOC-TV Family Focus partner locations. Ashley HomeStore, Showmars and E.R. Plumbing Services until June 8. Find a donation location near you by following this link.

Learn more about the 9 Food Drive at http://www.9FoodDrive.com.

If your organization or business would like to get involved or help with 9 Food Drive or you have an inspiring story to share, please email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV community affairs manager, at kevin.campbell@wsoctv.com.​