Lives We Touch: Melvin’s Story

04/01/2018 by Rebecca Toews

76-year-old Melvin T. used to work on Alaska’s fishing ships in the Bering Sea. But after health problems and homelessness, he sought help from Catholic Charities’ Aging and Disabilities Services team, who brought him to Bridging. With the help of Bridging volunteer shoppers Sheila and Marilyn, Melvin was able to select items he needed for his new apartment.

… Before his [Bridging] appointment, Melvin was living out of his suitcase, sleeping on a flat air mattress and cooking in aluminum pans from the dollar store. He didn’t know what to expect, but he was hoping for a bed and a TV or radio so he’d have something to listen to besides his own mumbles.

“I thought it would be nice and I thought, maybe Melea exaggerated it a little bit, but this is beautiful. This is starting me out on a new life. I didn’t have anything when I walked through these doors but a half blown up air mattress,” he said as leaving Bridging.

Melvin received all of the necessary items to outfit his home—everything from cookware to art for the walls, places to sit and even an ironing board.

A day later, Bridging delivered his furnishings and Laurel and Ka, social work students interning with Catholic Charities’ Aging and Disabilities program, came by to rearrange furniture and help turn his apartment into a home.

Sitting on his new bed in his own bedroom, he was overcome with emotion on how many people had helped him come so far. Now that he has a home, Melvin has his sights set on his next goal. One day, Melvin hopes he will be able to have a puppy.

“I love dogs. I just want to first get a handle on my medical issues. Before I can take care of a dog I’ve got to be able to take care of myself,” he said.

Read Melvin’s Full Story from our Partner, Catholic Charities:

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