The Norman Transcript

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April 7, 2013

Providing food for 30 years

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“When people become homeless they don’t believe they are going to be homeless forever. They go into it and they think they will get back on their feet in a few days and then a few days turns into a month and then it turns into a year.

“The reason that they tell us that they struggle to get out of homelessness are a mountain of obstacles like lack of job skills, an inability to communicate to a potential employer.

“We’re focusing a great deal of our time from here, helping the people who come here with solutions to those mountain of obstacles. We’re going to do everything we can to limit the exposure to homelessness and keep kids off the streets and out of cars and out of shelters.”

Part of that plan is to introduce financial management classes and job skill classes to residents and guests of Food and Shelter.

Another area that Food and Shelter hopes to grow into is integrating the community into the agency.

“Our volunteers have come in and served food on the other side of the line for so long, and that has been what has kept us going. But now we want mentors and community members to come in and be involved on a more social level or on a more engaging level to give people the confidence and self-esteem and self worth to feel like they can move themselves forward,” Doshier said. “We want to bring in an expert in the community to share their guidance and wisdom on all kinds of things, legal issues, possible educational opportunities.

“So many of our residents and guest feel that education is so far out of their reach, but it is within everybody’s reach. They just need somebody to walk them through the process. It is very difficult to dream when your life has fallen out from underneath you. It’s our job to dream for them so they can eventually believe in themselves again.”

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