Redding pop-up restaurant serves up second chances

Dec 21, 2014 6:57 PM by Charlene Cheng

Lisa Payne knows all too well that things don't always go as planned.

"I felt like I was in a solid situation and then everything kind of crumbled after my divorce, and I just found myself in a position where I had no marketable skills and I just didn't know what to do, even though I had been a busy mom for a very long time," she said.

Thanks to a non-profit organization called Living Hope, she now works at the Shack, a restaurant that opens once a month in Redding, serving fresh, organic food.

But more importantly, it doubles as a vocational program, employing homeless and low-income people and equipping them with job skills and references.

"You think like, oh, I had a job since I was 16, I was hired at the first job I got, and have had one ever since, and sometimes we take that for granted and don't realize that there's people hitting the pavement hard, applying for 50, 60, jobs, only to be denied everywhere they go," said Living Hope program director Jordan Storment.

Five months sober, Ashley Robbins is taking the first step to rebuilding her life.

"Today, my first day, just three people have told me they work at different places in town and they're looking for other people to hire so I've gotten tons of opportunities only from today," she said.

"You start questioning yourself, you're putting in applications with 50, 70 other people, and you think do I really have enough to set myself apart from that?" Robert Sanders added.

Sanders is one of the shack's success stories.

He credits the experience as a jump start to his new, permanent job at View 202, a local fine dining restaurant.

"Somebody can hand you a fish everyday, it's not going to keep feeding you. Eventually you're going to run out and people are going to stop wanting to do that for you. This gives you something to build, you're not sitting on sand anymore, you're sitting on a firm foundation," he said.

The Shack will be open again next month on Sunday, January 18, at the Stirring Church on Churn Creek Road in Redding.

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