Incarcerated and alone, Gena was in the depths of despair when she became a Chopping for Change participant. Rejected by friends, family, and even her own son, she could not imagine she had anything to hope for. She had signed up for LMM’s Chopping for Change culinary arts program, thinking it would be a chance to get off the prison campus for a few hours every day, but she was sure they wouldn’t accept her application.

The first rays of hope dawned in Gena’s heart when she heard that she was chosen for the program. The day she walked through the doors at the LMM Richard Sering Center for her first culinary arts class, she was no longer known by her prison number. Caring LMM staff called her by her name, “Gena.” Her instructors went out of their way to get to know her as a person.

“When nobody in my family would talk to me, the Chopping for Change staff listened. They believed in me when nobody else would. They saw who I could be.

By the time she was released from prison, Gena was transformed into an excellent cook with a positive attitude and an unstoppable work ethic. With the help of LMM, she secured a great restaurant job and was a restored, independent citizen. The only thing missing in her life was her teenaged son. When he finally decided to come for a visit, he loved the changes he saw in his mom so much that he decided to move in with her permanently. The two are now reunited and living in a comfortable home. Gena credits LMM’s Chopping for Change program with giving her purpose and hope.

“LMM’s Chopping for Change gave me my life back.”

By giving to LMM, you provide the gift of hope for hundreds of people just like Gena. For fifty years, LMM has offered help and hope to the forgotten, lost and hurting of Greater Cleveland. Your support makes our life-giving work possible. Your generous contribution is a gift of hope—dignity, self-sufficiency, and a sense of real community–for those who have no home, no job and no family.

To donate to LMM, click here.