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Profile: Melvin Jenkins

on October 13, 2009

When Melvin Jenkins’ brother brought him to the Bay Area Rescue Mission earlier this year, Jenkins thought it was for a cooking job.

And it was — sort of.

Jenkins quickly realized that he had been fooled; the “job” was actually a 14-month drug recovery program, run in conjunction with an intensive culinary training course.

Jenkins, who had worked previously at restaurants, said he has always had a passion for cooking. So he agreed to join the program.

Six months later, Jenkins, 43, credits his brother with jumpstarting his recovery.

“Yeah, he tricked me, but I kind of thank him in a way,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said he is motivated to stay in the program in large part by his desire to pursue a culinary career.

But that doesn’t mean it always runs smoothly. Conflicts among kitchen coworkers have nearly pushed Jenkins to drop out of the program. He thanks one coworker in particular, Maurice Cathy, for keeping him there.

“Actually, Maurice is a big part of my life because he stopped me from leaving one day…He said, ‘If you leave, no matter where you go, them demons going to follow you.’”

|Rescue Mission Profiles

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