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Man thanks St. Matthew's House for new life for Christmas

Posted at 6:23 PM, Dec 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-25 18:23:30-05

NAPLES, Fla. — St. Matthew’s House hosted their 35th Annual Christmas lunch at Campbell Lodge. They had enough meals to feed up to 700 people. But for Jerome Calvin, it means so much more than a hot meal on Christmas. He said they gave him a second chance at life.

“St. Mathew House helped me to get sober, stay sober to begin to believe in myself again,” he said after he finished eating Christmas lunch.

St. Matthew’s House served filet mignon, shrimp and asparagus.

“The meal is just superb,” said Calvin.

A Detroit native, Calvin fell on hard times and recently relapsed after 25 years of sobriety. So he moved to Southwest Florida for rehab and found St. Matthew's House. He lived in their shelter and used some of their resources for substance abuse. After nearly one year sober, he's now in charge of the shelter's food donations.

"I'm just grateful,” he said.

St. Matthew’s House's CEO Vann Ellison said now is an especially crucial time of year to show people they care.

“For the family that is or the person that's alone, that's broken, this is the highest time for suicide for drug overdoses and for people really suffering with despair,” he said.

Calvin said he’s struggled with suicidal thoughts as well. He said St. Matthew's House saved his life.

“[They] allowed me to recover and have a life again. Because I was a dead man walking,” he said.

Ellison said St. Matthew’s House also extended their holiday help to Collier and Henry counties. He said hey sent meals to about 6,000 families today.