GIVING BACK THROUGH HIS LOVE OF COOKING
“It’s a blessing to be able to sit down together to commune over a hot meal. This is the closest thing that they have to family.”
Roland has two passions: cooking and giving back. As the chef at St. Patrick Center’s Rosati Place, he’s doing both. “I love to cook and I cook from the heart.” He does that two meals a day. “Whether it’s my own version of ‘hamburger helper’ or any of my signature dishes, I make sure our clients have fresh meals every day.”
Roland experienced homelessness twice—once because of a home foreclosure and a second time because of a nearly two-year jail sentence for a crime he says he didn’t commit. When he was released from jail, Roland knew St. Patrick Center would help him. “I was a closed off person and they welcomed me.” He learned how to have relationships, manage his anger, budget and communicate.
While Roland didn’t learn to cook at St. Patrick Center, he worked on his craft there. And, because he has a stable job and residence, he can continue to pursue his culinary arts degree. “My dream is to open a shelter to give back.”
Through his experiences, Roland has learned the arts of giving and acceptance. “I watch new residents come in all clammed up and bitter and they don’t want to talk. I sit down with them, ask them about their day and let them know that big chip of ice they have on their shoulder will melt.”
Roland has a message for people who donate to St. Patrick Center: “Thank you. It’s a blessing to be able to sit down together to commune over a hot meal. This is the closest thing our clients have to family.”
Published August 17, 2020