The first night that James Parker spent at the Portland Rescue Mission last month changed his life.
He is now off the streets and living at the shelter on Burnside Street as full-time resident.
"I'm an addict and an alcoholic," said Parker.
At just 21 years old, the Arkansas native is trying to piece his life back together after falling on hard times. He is taking part in the Portland Rescue Mission's recovery program and has been sober for almost two weeks.
"They don't just help with the addiction, but what caused the addiction," he said.
Parker still remembers the first hot meal he had at the shelter a few weeks ago. He said it was the beginning of his journey on the path to sober living.
"Just having a home cooked meal, it was the best feeling," he said. "I was just on the street and asking for money to get anything, like snacks, just to get by."
He is now helping others who are in similar situations. As a resident at the shelter, he helps cook hundreds of meals for those still on the streets.
"I want to do it because I care, because being out on the streets and not having a hot meal gets rough. It gets depressing."
Parker still has a long way to go, but he's now getting the help he needs to get back on his feet.
"I'd be still on the streets. I'd be struggling to not use, to not drink."
FOX 12 hosted this year's Portland Rescue Mission: Give Hope Telethon. Click here to help feed and care for someone this holiday season. Just $38 a month for two months will help 40 people this Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Portland Rescue Mission.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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