For 19 years, Ozanam Recovery House has been creating community by helping men who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues.
The 19-bed recovery home offers men a second chance, through programs and support for their residents who can stay as long as three months to two years.
“Homelessness and poverty are huge issues in the city and they are not just going away,” said Jamie Walters, Ozanam Recovery House program director.
“It’s important to get to the root of the issue so this is an opportunity to get in here and work with men one on one and work through what the core issues are for them.”
Now, staff at the transition home can continue their work thanks to the generosity of the Central Okanagan Foundation, Sunrise Rotary Club and The Rotary Club of Kelowna that helped upgrade their home kitchen to an industrial kitchen.
“It gets a lot of use, a lot of use. We were having to replace countertops annually, same with the fridges and everything like that — they get a lot of use,” said Walters.
“Residential stuff just breaks down and the commercial stuff lasts a lot longer.”
Walters says that the kitchen is a crucial part of their two-year recovery program.
“Community is a really important aspect of our recovery program. We know that isolation is the first behavioural indication of addiction and it’s also the end result. All addictions end in total isolation for the addict,” said Walters.
“So the opposite of addiction isn’t even sobriety the opposite of addiction is human connection and this kitchen is a big part of that for us. We get the guys together every day at 5:00 p.m. and they bond with the staff, they bond with each other and they break bread together.”
For resident Shane Brown, the six months he has spent living at the Ozanam Recovery House have given him another chance.
“It’s just a great place to get your ducks in a row,” said Brown.
“It teaches us to have support through others, not try to do it all yourself because you can’t really. That has been proven to me over the years: you just need support.”
The kitchen overhaul will now help facilitate many house dinners to help facilitate the healings at the Ozanam Recovery House for years to come.