Brandy

Brandy was a participant of LMM’s Chopping for Change (C4C) program and currently works for LMM as a chef and culinary teaching assistant.

Initially, Brandy was hesitant to participate in the Chopping for Change program. “But from the minute I walked in, I was like, I love this place, I was barely in there for five minutes”. Her time at LMM was really pivotal for her. “You could just tell the people genuinely cared about what was happening…everyone’s just so supportive and non-judgmental, and they’re really genuinely nice people.”

“Before I went to prison, I was homeless for like a year. Close to a year of living on the street…and then when I found out, like the food we were making feeds the homeless. And I’m like, do you know how many people brought me food, just when I was sitting outside or there was a church that fed us…this is my chance to do what everybody else did for me when I couldn’t do it.”

“And then when I found out, like the food we were making feeds the homeless. And I’m like, do you know how many people brought me food, just when I was sitting outside or there was a church that fed us…this is my chance to do what everybody else did for me when I couldn’t do it.”

 

 

Post-incarceration, Brandy faced many reentry barriers- specifically finding long term, stable housing and adjusting to being back around other people. “Housing was definitely the biggest challenge.” Studies have found that “7 months after release 52% of reentrants still had not found temporary housing, 35% had lived at more than one address during that same time, while others had already entered a homeless shelter” (Stojkovic 2017).

Brandy continues to want to give back and help others. “People think I’m weird, but I’m not mad that I ended up homeless. I’m not mad that I ended up in prison. Because it brought me [to LMM] and it makes me feel like I had to go through that to be able to help other people.”

Brandy hopes to be able to forgive herself and to be able to move forward with love and grace to help others around her in the world. We are extremely grateful for Brandy’s presence in the LMM community!