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Christopher Trahan - January 2022

It’s a new year, and though we all still wrestle with the threat of some new variant of the coronavirus, there are many reasons to celebrate as we reflect on 2021. For example, after a year of our #givebetter public awareness campaign to address panhandling, we recently finished our last count revealing a 50% decrease over the past year. That’s worth celebrating not because an “issue” is being resolved or a “problem” is being addressed, but because people are finding their way to real help rather than being trapped in dependency on a street corner.

We’re going to continue and build on this awareness campaign through 2022. Why? Because when you and others in Joplin give better, people live better. And that’s what we all want for our neighbors in need. Too often, people are eking by, living lives that are hardly worth living.

Chris was one of those. For decades, he was slave to a bottle. Today, because of your support and the great team of staff and volunteers at our Forge long term residential program, he’s free.

“Drinking was like my career—I never worked so hard at anything else in my life. But alcohol was a boss that didn’t pay; it only took. Forge made it possible for me to quit. I found the structure and guidance I needed, but also just the time and distance away from my old life to see it for what it was and make a clean break. Finding sobriety at 52, I wish I’d done it a lot earlier, but I’m focused on what’s ahead, on the new me, and working toward good things for the rest of my life.”

Chris is connected to a church and about to graduate the program. He’s on a path for success. Thank you for your support. Because you’ve chosen to #givebetter, people like Chris live better. Please continue to press on with us this new year. We’ll keep on coupling real compassion with common sense because it brings about results worth celebrating.

James Whitford

Co-Founder and Executive Director