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A Restored Life: Meet Virgil

Each day we meet a variety of people. Many from different cultures and nationalities. As we know, each has their own history. This history usually is the guide post that brings them through their current situation in life. This history brings its share of struggles, trials, failures and successes. Many fight their battles alone. Many of these battles are born from mental or physical challenges. Sometimes both. Some are brought on by misguided decisions and some are brought on by circumstances beyond their control. The solutions to these challenges, to some, are far out of their reach. They struggle on a daily basis to figure out how they can exit this maze of misery they find themselves in. At Hearts for the Homeless®, we have the pleasure of meeting many different people with many different stories. One such person we recently met was a senior citizen named Virgil.

I had the pleasure of meeting Virgil late last year while he was in line for our Hearts Harvest Food Pantry. Realizing he was a new client, I approached him on the line, welcomed him and introduced myself. During our brief conversation, Virgil told me he was living in a rooming house on Tonawanda Street and had limited resources. At most, he had a microwave and a small refrigerator along with other sparse furnishings. I assured him we would take care of his food needs, aligning our offerings with his ability to cook or heat up food and store perishables in his small fridge.

It was at his next visit Virgil approached me and asked if we could assist him with finding someone or an organization that could help him with his medical, mental health and housing needs. I took his information and in time, thanks to a caseworker from Cinqcare, we were able to provide Virgil with a phone number for him to at least start the process. We would see Virgil when he visited the food pantry and would ask how he was. As with most of us, some days were good, some not so good and some very difficult. However, with prayer and blessings, Virgil would not give up. The last time I saw Virgil, he was with his caseworker. To Virgil, the caseworker was his guardian angel. He arranged Virgil’s appointments, found him housing, mental health assistance and overall was the light Virgil needed at the end of that very dark tunnel.

If I could put into words how happy this man was when he last visited Hearts’ campus. He just moved into a brand-new apartment, furniture was being arranged and the thing he was most excited about was that he had an oven. “I have an oven; I just can’t believe I finally have an oven. Haven’t had one of those in I don’t know how long”, said Virgil. You can see the happiness and relief that just emanated from his being. A big smile, weight off his shoulders and what seemed like a new beginning for him.

While we lend our ear to many of our clients, we only hear snippets of their stories. Virgil is the first person that I saw first-hand the progress he made from being sad, lonely and not sure of his future, to now finally having an oven; something many of us take for granted, has now made this man feel like life was worth living again.

Written by Joseph R., Hearts’ outreach staff member. 

If you would like to help make a difference in the lives of people in need like our friend Virgil, please click here to donate to the work of Hearts.