PADUCAH, KY – CenterPoint Recovery Center for Men, a six-month, residential drug treatment facility, found themselves with a problem this summer. They had too much good food and knew the 120 residents of the center couldn’t eat it all.
Each spring residents at CenterPoint begin to work the large parcel of land behind the center to create and care for a fruit and vegetable garden. The goal of the garden is two-fold. It gives clients an opportunity to work on something they can be proud of and it helps offset food costs at the center. Further, one of the guiding principles in the recovery process is to think of others and ‘give back’ to those who may not be as lucky as you.
“It is important for our guys to realize that as bad as they have it – and most of our clients have a tough road ahead of them and dealing with their addiction is just the first step – but, as bad as they may have it, it’s important for them to realize that it could always be worse,” said Thelma Hunter, Director of CenterPoint.
Laura Price, CenterPoint’s Facilities Manger, who also coordinates the garden project said, “Giving back is something that we teach time and time again. By focusing on helping others, it gives our clients a real chance to get outside themselves and that becomes a big part of their addiction recovery. The garden is one of the many tools we use to teach clients responsibility and they are rewarded for their efforts in a very real way – with results they can see.”
Price continued, “A lot of our guys were homeless themselves before coming to CenterPoint. They know what it’s like to not have a decent meal.”
With the spirit of giving back ever-present in client’s minds, they decided that their abundance of food was not a problem but a solution. The group contacted the Community Kitchen and asked if they could help.
“When CenterPoint called, we were thrilled,” said Sally Michelson, Executive Director of the Community Kitchen.
Michelson went on, “We, of course, always need help from volunteers to serve so that was exciting enough – but then to be told they would be bringing fresh food with them – we were beyond happy.”
Because the Community Kitchen runs entirely on donations, fresh fruits and vegetables are often times just too expensive to serve on a daily basis, so they rely on canned goods instead.
“Having a donation of fresh vegetables along with volunteers to serve doesn’t happen often,” Michelson said.
At the end of the summer, CenterPoint residents will begin canning vegetables that they haven’t donated or served in their own kitchen. If the return from the garden this summer is any indication, the Community Kitchen may be very well be getting another donation come fall.
Currently celebrating its fiftieth year, Four Rivers Behavioral Health is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides comprehensive mental health, substance abuse and developmental/intellectual disability services to clients in Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, McCracken, and Marshall Counties.
CenterPoint Recovery Center for Men is a 120-bed, six-month, residential drug treatment center. CenterPoint is managed by Four Rivers Behavioral Health.