A recovering drug addict is giving hope to Chicago’s homeless by offering compassion, support and thousands of sack lunches.
Nick Gore, founder of Sack Lunch Sunday, said providing meals to the less fortunate on the streets of Chicago is the “best high” he’s ever had in his entire life.
“Because that’s what keeps me sober. That’s what keeps me going today,” Gore said.
Gore said Sack Lunch Sunday, founded in October 2013, started with two people and has blossomed to well over 2,000 volunteers who have helped the non-profit group.
Volunteers donate items like food and clothing and pack the lunches. So far Gore said the group has delivered more than 16,000 lunches.
The bags are often packed with sandwiches, chips, water bottles and hand-written notes offering hope and words of encouragement.
“I’ve literally seen these notes change people’s lives,” Gore said.
While Gore, 30, was never homeless, he said he can relate to their struggles.
Gore said he was diagnosed with a 19 millimeter kidney stone as a younger man and became addicted to pain pills and later heroin. He said he spent the better part of seven years as an addict.
But in 2012 Gore worked a 12-step program and lived in a sober house and surrounded himself with “good people”. As of late February 2015, Gore said he has been clean and sober for three years.
“It’s not an absolute struggle to stay sober every day of my life and that was once I couldn’t stay sober for a half hour at a time,” Gore said.
And now he’s an inspiration to others.
“What this man does, he actually re-opened my eyes to going back out and helping the community,” said Roger Jacobsen.
Bob Gorman said he helps Gore by carrying Sack Lunch Sunday donations to recipients at a men’s shelter in downtown Chicago.
“Nick has made a name for himself since he came here,” Gorman said.
Donated items like hand warmers, gloves and hats are appreciated by the recipients during bouts of cold weather.
Gore credits the volunteers for Sack Lunch Sunday’s growing success. He said groups are expected to come from Iowa and Wisconsin during the next several months.
According to Gore, giving back is the best feeling in the world.
“I get to go pass out some lunches and help people who need that little bit of hope in their life because there was people in my life that gave me hope along the way,” Gore said.