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A Recipe for Hope: Stories of Transformation by People Struggling with Homelessness [Paperback]

By Karen M. Skalitzky (Author)
Our Price $ 8.46  
Retail Value $ 9.95  
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Item Number 129913  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.01" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.81 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2007
Publisher   ACTA Publications
ISBN  0879463252  
EAN  9780879463250  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A Recipe for Hope: Stories of Transformation by People Struggling with Homelessness, by debut author Karen Skalitzky, dispels the misconceptions around homelessness. It contains first-person accounts by some of Chicago's most diverse voices. Collected from the men and women of Inspiration Corporation, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless back to self-sufficiency, these true stories challenge modern preconceptions of homelessness and demonstrate how this often "faceless" problem affects everyone, regardless of race, color, creed or economic status. These riveting portraits include the story of a man who, although raised in an affluent, white, suburban family, one day found himself destitute and living in shelters, only to make the long journey back to mainstream society through his involvement in theatre and art, as well as the former policewoman who quit her job so that she could follow her dream of serving the poor. These stories are redemptive oral histories that depict struggle and defeat, victory and love. But most of all, these are stories about each and every one of us, because this is not a book for people hoping to change the world-it's a book for people who are hoping to change themselves. Perfect for churches, schools, libraries, recovery groups, service volunteers, or anyone with an interest in social justice, A Recipe for Hope includes recipes by several of Chicago's finest chefs that are delightful and meant to be shared.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The 5-Star Truth about Homelessness  Nov 29, 2007
Reviewed By Shawn Remfrey

This incredible book should be a staple in every American household. Karen Skalitzky is a volunteer at both Inspiration Cafe and Living Room Cafe in Chicago-the cornerstone of Chicago's ten-year plan to end homelessness.

As she began to get to know the patrons, she began interviewing them, beginning with `What does it mean to tell your story?' and ending in wisdom. The book is from those interviews with every-day people who have lost their homes, and sometimes families, to bad decisions. You'll keep thinking: That could happen to me!

You might first think this book is going to be really depressing-stories about drug addicts, alcoholics, and people who just don't care about their lives. Instead you find a treasury of wisdom and knowledge from people that learned things the hard way-or bad circumstance. A few were involved in drugs and/or alcohol, but that wasn't the beginning for them.

People from all walks of life have become homeless. One successful man decided to open a business with a buddy, and with one wrong choice, he was on the fast track to homelessness. Another story is of a top executive for the Kraft. While employed, he directed the funds to help feed the hungry and homeless, but he never felt it was enough. At retirement he found humanity that was missing at the Inspiration Café.

Every interview is a success story-but not on the first try. They have all learned incredible secrets of life that each and everyone needs to know. The most important thing that I learned, is that homelessness can happen to anyone at any time-even me! Though it is difficult to get past the prejudices that we were born with, a homeless person isn't necessarily lazy or drunk or stoned. Often they are just down on their luck and need a hand to get back on their feet.

Ms. Skalitzky wrote this book to share this wealth of knowledge. Those interviewed wanted to share what they've learned in the hopes of helping others not make the same mistakes. For each book that is sold a percentage goes to Inspiration Corporation that encompasses Inspiration Cafe, Living Room Cafe, and Cafe Too.

Armchair Interviews says: This book is insightful, well-constructed, truthful and eye-opening.
I'd Like to Buy the World a Copy  Mar 23, 2007
Like all the books I review, I consider this one to be well written and contain a message suitable for the intended audience. Beyond that, "A Recipe for Hope" seems so important I'd like to buy the world a copy. First, the oral histories really "put a face on" the homeless and those who serve them. Author Karen M. Skalitzky is a teacher with a master's degree in literacy education. She developed this project after volunteering at two programs sponsored by Inspiration Corporation, a Chicago non-profit that serves the homeless. She tape recorded many of the stories at the organization's Cafe Too, a public restaurant where menus, preparation, and service are handled by volunteers and members of the culinary training program. All of those who chose to be interviewed have connections to Inspiration Corp. programs, and most are current or former clients.

The foreword and introduction contain some statistics on homelessness and background on the service providers mentioned. Lisa Nigro, the former Chicago police officer who got started 16 years ago, delivering sandwiches and coffee from a child's wagon, tells her story early in the book. Eventually she and her husband accepted an invitation to set up a "Cafe" in Russia. Jenny Urban is another staffer who spoke with Skalitzky. Urban graduated from culinary school, moved to Chicago in pursuit of a restaurant career, and ended up as food services manager at a center for women who are homeless before she became director of the internship program at Cafe Too. These staffers are united in the understanding that anyone can become homeless; everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity; and when properly designed and managed, services to the homeless can make a significant difference.

Their philosophy is borne out in the words of those represented in "A Recipe for Hope"--grandparents, singles, children, couples, professionals, laborers, immigrants, educated, mentally and physically disabled, addicted, convicted, whatever stripe you want to apply. The sentiment that most represents my feeling after reading these stories is similar to that expressed by the four-year veteran staffer, Rian Wanstreet, just 25, whose interview closed with these words: "I'm going to talk about this place for the rest of my life."
Homeless in Chicago  Dec 5, 2006
If you ever passed a homeless person on the street and wondered what his story was, this is the book for you. The author draws back the curtain on several clients of Chicago's Inspiration Corporation, where she is a volunteer. Because the people trust her, they share their stories with startling frankness, which is very moving. It's amazing how filled with hope the people in this book are. After a while, you begin to see patterns, and draw some broader conclusions about homelessness.

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