Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 23, 2012

Recovering addicts hand out gifts to the needy in Detroit


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---- — DETROIT (AP) — A program designed to help needy families and children in Detroit also is benefitting homeless men who are recovering from alcohol and drug addictions.

Therapists have told officials homeless residents at Mariners Inn, a substance abuse treatment center for men, are jumping at the chance to take part in its Adopt-A-Family program, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

Some donned red-and-white stocking caps while distributing gifts Friday to a dozen needy families.

"Doing this helps us remember what a family is all about," said 42-year-old Rob Schingeck. "A lot of us lost that in our addictions."

The nonprofit agency was founded in 1925 by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. It houses 144 men going through recovery. Schingeck has been at the Mariners Inn since Sept. 19.

Adopt-A-Family was started six years ago and is based on a theory that substance addictions are signs of underlying psychological problems, said Kori Loewe, residential program director at Mariners Inn.

"Recovery isn't just putting down the drugs and alcohol," Loewe told the Free Press. "It's about finding a new way of life."

The program is funded through donations. Each family is budgeted $500. Mariners Inn residents help make the purchases and wrap the gifts, which include towels, blankets, utensils and children's clothing.

"We've found that these guys are very savvy shoppers," said Shauna Vercher-Morrow, Mariners Inn spokeswoman. "When you're homeless, you really learn how to stretch a dollar, so they come back with a lot of stuff."