Brick House Foundation serves dinner with a side of hope

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DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — Where there is dark, there can still be light.

James Buchen battled substance abuse and mental illness for more than a year.

“I was at that point where I didn’t want to live but I didn’t want to die,” Buchen said. “I was completely lost to say the least.”

His life spiraled out of control — until a new charity opened its doors and welcomed him inside.

“I’ve started to regain some relationships that I pretty much destroyed over the past [few years],” Buchen said.

“Every human life, the value of it is just amazing,” said Brick House Foundation president Jim McRoberts. “Everyone has a purpose, a God-given purpose.”

McRoberts and the Brick House Foundation serve as a way to find that purpose.

The foundation opened in June to help men wanting to live productive, sober lives. It functions as a halfway house for former addicts and alcoholics, giving them the shelter and resources they need to get back on their feet. Right now, Brick House only serves men, but McRoberts has hopes of expanding the program to eventually include women as well.

This Christmas, the foundation’s dinner is serving up more than just potatoes and ham. Buchen’s mother and his son, Jordan, showed up to serve up smiles for the first time in months.

“[Christmas means] hope that even somebody as sick as I am can achieve something better than what he’s had,” Buchen said.

As he sat down to eat dinner with his family and fellow Brick House residents, Buchen is looking toward a better future — one both he and his son can be proud of.

“Don’t give up,” Buchen said, fighting back tears. “No matter what, just don’t give up.”

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