You Gave Him Tools to Thrive!

A crisis left Eric living out of his car, wondering how he was going to overcome . . .

When Eric’s wife passed away unexpectedly, he was left to raise six children on his own.

“She went to the hospital on Christmas Day while the kids were playing with their toys. Twelve days later, she was gone,” says Eric. “It was devastating. Raising five children and a baby while trying to stay strong was really difficult,” he recalls.


Later down the road after his kids grew into adults, Eric remarried. But things grew rocky when he started having heart
problems. “I ended up having open-heart surgery,” says Eric. “At the same time, my wife was being unfaithful. We split up.”

When Eric was released from the hospital, he was unable to go back to work. With no means of income, it was only a matter of time before he lost his apartment.

Eric was able to live with his daughter for a time. But eventually, his son in-law asked Eric to leave. “I didn’t have anywhere to go. So I packed up all my stuff and slept in my car for about three or four months.”

Eric spent his nights in a hospital parking lot. He was trying his best to stay positive, but his circumstances looked hopeless. “I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I started thinking that death could be more comfortable than dealing with what I’m dealing with,” says Eric.


Through his church, Eric got connected with an outreach worker who told him about Metro’s Culinary Arts Program — a hands-on course and restaurant internship that equips students for long-term employment in the culinary field.

“It’s a dream of mine to have a culinary degree, and I felt like that was God saying, ‘This is for you. This is what you’ve always hoped and dreamt for,’” says Eric.

From the moment he walked through Metro’s doors, Eric felt like he was a part of a family. As he learned valuable skills, he also worked with a community navigator in Hillsborough County to receive housing assistance. He finally had the support he needed to get back on his feet.

“Metro changed my life,” says Eric. “I was so broken when I came here, but I have so much peace now. I’m not going to give up.”

To anyone who is struggling like he once was, Eric says, “Keep on fighting. Keep on pushing. Keep on believing. You’ll get through.”

These encouraging words are the heart behind your generosity. When you give, Hope Does More, and a neighbor who thought they’d never make it through another day finds a beautiful new beginning.