Holding on to Hope

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December 18, 2018 By: Tina Mortimer Category: Testimonial

Growing up in Chicago, Grant enjoyed an active family and social life. He liked woodworking and had plenty of friends. He was also heavily involved in his church’s mission work and had the opportunity to travel to places like Haiti and the Philippines.

But, when Grant was 18, he learned he had ulcerative colitis and his whole world changed. After undergoing seven surgeries—one to remove part of his colon—he was in near constant pain. His doctor prescribed opioids to help with the paid, and soon, Grant developed an addiction.

For four years, Grant struggled with his addiction, alternating between periods of being drug-free and periods of use. He felt like he was out of options, but then someone from his church recommended that he visit Metro Hope, a Christian recovery program for men and women in Minneapolis.

“I believe there’s a huge difference between being helpless and being hopeless,” he said. “Often, people with addiction think they’re helpless, but they’ve just given up hope. Faith is a big part of who I am, so I always had hope that I’d recover.”

At the aptly named Metro Hope, Grant not only found the help he needed to treat his addiction, but the food he needed to be healthy with his disease.

“Nutrition is a big deal for someone with ulcerative colitis,” he says. “The food at Metro Hope meets all my dietary needs. They are very intentional about having the right foods for my diet.”

Grant eats three healthy meals a day between classes, support groups and bible-based programming.

“The program here is phenomenal,” he said. “They do such a good job. It’s really exceeded my expectations.”

“At the men’s center we have a guest room that allows us to serve up to seven men that may be waiting for a bed to open up in another program or funding to get into a treatment facility,” Seth Evans, director of operations and programming at Metro Hope, said. “This gives us the opportunity to extend the life expectancy of those who are asking for help.”

Evans said winter is often the busiest time of year at the shelter.

“Our men’s program has the capacity to serve just over 50 men,” he says. “And we generally stay full during the winter.”

This time of year, residents can expect a special holiday meal.

“We try to make the residents feel at home and safe,” Evans said.

If there were one myth or misconception about hunger and needing help that he could dispel, Evans says it would be that it only happens to people who are low income.  

Grant adds, “Don’t be quick to assume something about someone or judge them based on appearances. You never know what someone else is going through. I always try to expect the best.”


Resources like meal programs provide nutritious food and make an important difference in the lives of so many people like Grant.

Second Harvest Heartland provides, on average, 80 percent of all food distributed by its agency partners. Your donation this holiday season will make sure our agency partners’ shelves are stocked with healthy, fresh foods. Think of Grant this holiday season and make a gift today.


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