Neighbor Spotlight: Meet Egbert

Egbert has come a long way in the last 17 months, and he’s only looking up from here.

“About a year ago, I hit rock bottom,” he said. “I was using all my money for drugs, so I decided it was time to get help.”

Homeless at the time, Egbert sought assistance from a local social service agency in Newark. They connected him with addiction services – and the St. James Social Service Corp. food pantry, which also hosts a weekly meal program.

“The food pantry folks, they never gave up on me,” he said. “They made sure I had a meal every day.”

Now, Egbert has been clean for the last 17 months. And in that time, he went back to school to get his Commercial Drivers License.

“I just graduated last month,” he says with a wide grin.

But that’s not all. Egbert is working on finding stable housing – and he comes back to the St. James meal program not for food, but to be a positive influence on other visitors who may need a little encouragement.

“Unless people see that there’s a way out, they can stay stagnant. I hope to be that example of how there is a way out, to show people what’s possible,” he said. “So they know there’s hope.”