You Gave Me a Safe Place to Start Again.

A few years ago, my relationship went sour, and I decided it was best for me to leave our home and start over. I was working full-time, but I couldn’t find a house, so I started living in my car. Being the classic stubborn man I didn’t want to ask for help, and I wound up doing that for about a year. You just end up adapting to it, and telling people you’re all OK.

Then one day at work, I was having a bit of chest pain. I went to Wellington Hospital, where they said I was having a heart attack. Next thing I knew, I was getting ready for a quadruple heart bypass. I stayed there for a month, but then had nowhere else to recover safely. Thankfully a friend of mine really helped me out. We found emergency housing at a hotel in town, and he made sure I was getting by during the toughest part of my recovery.

Those first couple of weeks I had no money and no sickness benefit, so thankfully I was able to do a shop at The Mission’s Social Supermarket. It was awesome being able to shop like in
a normal supermarket, especially because you can choose food that you’re actually going to eat. I only needed the Social Supermarket once, but I did end up going to the community lounge, Tā te Manawa, a few times.

It’s a good vibe down there, and lots of people come up and ask you how you’re doing.

Knowing you can get food if you really need it, and that you have a place to talk with people is important at times like that, because it takes a bit of stress off – especially for men who are afraid to ask for help.

After a while in my emergency housing, I found out it was closing. I still wasn’t healthy enough to work, and my benefit didn’t cover living costs, so I came in to meet with Kris from Te Pā Pori. At first, I didn’t think living in a group was right for me. But after talking with him, and finding out more, I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did, because it’s been the best thing that’s happened for me.

The first thing you notice is the rooms are grouse, and the staff are so helpful it’s not even funny! It was comforting knowing that people were around 24/7 and doing regular welfare checks. I started counselling with Peter to improve my health and well-being too. I was a bit closed off to begin with, but as it went along I got into a flow and made progress. Health-wise I’ve changed heaps, and that’s thanks to being around caring people.

Next, I wanted to get myself to a better position in life. So as soon as I was feeling OK to work, I asked my brother who was a delivery driver for Countdown if he knew of any jobs, and there was! Now I work full-time, and it’s a perfect fit because I can push myself but then take rests in between runs. I still haven’t fully recovered, because as soon as I walk up stairs or a hill I need a rest.

Christmas at Te Pā was awesome too, we had a massive lunch, it brought everyone together in the spirit of Christmas. I was also invited to the Mission Toy Store to pick up a couple of presents for my young granddaughters. I bought some toys as well, and they loved all their gifts. Funny enough, on one of my runs just before Christmas I delivered a big donation to The Mission from Thankyou Payroll. It was really cool being able to tell the supermarket staff that I was actually staying with them at Te Pā Pori! It was like my life had done a 180-degree turn from a couple of years ago.

Te Pā has been a Godsend really. I hate to think of where I’d be if The Mission hadn’t been here.

I’m thankful for every day that I’m alive, and I have peace of mind knowing that I’m safe. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my granddaughters, and even taking a bit of a holiday.

A big thanks to everyone who supports The Mission. What you’re doing to help our community is selfless really, and I hope I can do something like that one day too.

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