CHUCKY IS A GUEST OF OURS WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF COLUMBUS. HE IS ONE OF YOUR NEIGHBORS.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF: “I was born and raised on the South Side of Columbus. I am 34 years old. It was rough for me growing up in Columbus as a kid. I was living in poverty. It was kind of hard but on the other hand it wasn’t because our family was tight knit. We were very close and looking out for one another. There are nine of us in our family, six boys and three girls. One of my sisters passed away a year ago. We commemorate her death every year.”
CHUCKY’S MOTHER ALSO IS A GUEST OF THE OPEN SHELTER: “Mrs. Betty is my mom. My mom has been both a mother and a father to all of my family. She comes to The Open Shelter and gets help. This is a good place for homeless and other people. They feed you. They give resources to people that are less fortunate.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES OF THE SOUTH SIDE?: “I went to Beck Elementary School and Marion Franklin High School. I used to go to the Lincoln Park Pool to go swimming. As a kid, I turned the paper food stamps into the corner store for money and would use the money to go swimming and get snacks to eat. My family has pretty much lived here all of their lives. We would bounce back between Kentucky and here but only for short periods of time. The south side of Columbus is great. It will always be my home.”
WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR STRUGGLES GROWING UP?: “We used to collect cans and turn them in for money. We were living on a low income. I grew up on SSI (Supplemental Social Income) and SSA (Social Security). I have a learning disability and ADHD.”
CHUCKY IS CURRENTLY IN REHAB: “I am in the ‘Power Program’ at Alvis House at Jackson Pike. It’s a program that lasts three and a half months. I am there for using drugs. I have used opiates since I was 15. I started using fentanyl when my old lady passed away three years ago. I relapsed when she passed away. I started using opiates because I was around it. I grew up in a neighborhood where people had it. I am still fighting this disease to this day. I have been clean and sober for about eight months. Rehab is kind of rough. You can’t go outside whenever you want. They don’t want us interacting with the general population inmates. You are there for sixty days at first until you get an itinerary. Then you can start going out, get a job. I come to The Open Shelter and volunteer.”
WHAT LED YOU TO THE OPEN SHELTER?: “My house is just right down the street. I know Solomon Dean (Deputy Director of Day Services) from coming here. We consider him a family friend. My mom told me about it, how they give out sack lunches. She had me come down and get her lunches. They feed you and start the day with a hot meal. You can come here and get out of the cold or heat. They can help you with food from their pantry. You can get a shower here and get clothes. You can get hygiene items.”
WHAT DOES YOUR FUTURE HOLD? ARE THERE ANY GOALS YOU HAVE?: “Continuing to volunteer at The Open Shelter. I am going to stay on the straight and narrow path to stay clean. Do what I need to do.”