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Walking With Gregory To DePaul USA

“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

As I read this story about Gregory’s journey I tried to walk with him, one of God’s sons, as he found welcome at DePaul USA in Macon Georgia.

Gregory no longer had any family or friends after 18 years in prison. When he was released during the COVID-19 pandemic, he had no one to turn to for help. Gregory was dropped off at the bus station in Macon and had to fend for himself. Gregory walked down to the Salvation Army. The shelter there was full and locked down. Thankfully, Gregory, who has a complicated medical history but no access to needed medications, found Daybreak, Depaul USA’s day center, a few days later.

Daybreak staff connected Gregory to a health network where he was able to secure prescriptions for his mental health issues. Gregory didn’t think he could manage his medications, so he kept them with staff at Daybreak’s free health clinic. Every few days, volunteer nurses filled his pillbox to assure his medication was secure and monitored.

After Gregory’s health was stabilized, Daybreak’s case manager focused on finding him housing. After contacting the Department of Community Supervision Re-entry Program, the case manager discovered that the department was trying to locate him. The department could not find him because he did not stay at the Salvation Army as planned. The Department was able to offer Gregory a spot in a transitional housing program at the Serenity House of Atlanta Ministries.

While at Daybreak, Gregory asked for gloves and a trash bag so he could clean up the grounds around the day center. When people dropped off donations, he helped to carry them into the building with a smile on his face. Two days before he was scheduled to move to the transitional housing program, he had a bad night and the staff at Daybreak feared that his health was failing. Daybreak staff placed Gregory in a hotel for his last night in town. The next morning he said, “When I sat on my bed it was so soft that I fell right to sleep. I slept all night on that soft bed.” A good night’s rest was just what he needed to begin the next step of his journey. Gregory left Macon for his new housing program. When he arrived in Atlanta, a new support team was waiting for him. Gregory called Daybreak and told staff that he had made it to the new program and that he loved his new home.

I was touched by this story and happy that our Vincentian Family can help people like Gregory.

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