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Breaking Bread Spring 2018 – Something to Smile About

Then Jason arrived at Shalom House, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas’ men’s shelter, he was in very rough shape. Years of hard living, poor nutrition and drug abuse had wreaked havoc on his teeth, and within his first month at the shelter, he had the remainder removed. To make matters worse, he endured an emergency appendectomy. Due to his lack of insurance, he was discharged from the hospital mere hours after the life- saving procedure. If he had been living on the street, he would most likely have perished.

Many would have collapsed under such an onslaught to their health, especially while endeavoring to maintain sobriety. Jason not only soberly endured his trial with an incredibly positive attitude, he enrolled in an 8-week intensive Hazardous Materials and Environmental Clean-Up certification class. He proudly graduated with perfect attendance and over a 90% average. For the first time in his life, Jason had a viable chance at a permanent job.

Despite his monumental perseverance and achievements, however, he couldn’t help but feel self-conscious about his mouth. Wanting Jason to enter any interview or interaction with all the confidence that he deserves, Catholic Charities secured a new set of dentures thanks to the Newcomer Family Foundation and the collaboration with community partners.

“With all the interior work Jason has accomplished over these past months, it is indeed and blessing to be able to assist in some exterior work as well. Far from superficial notions of vanity, dentures allow a person to be more human in their daily lives, opening up the possibility of sharing a smile”, says Dustin Hardison, Director of Stabilization and Housing.

Thanks to the generous support of the Newcomer Family Foundation, as well as the Oppenstein Brothers Foundation and BlueScope Foundation, Shalom House continues to be equipped to serve and relieve the plight of homeless men, such as Jason.

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