“Geaux Fresh” Helps Women in Recovery
I recently became aware of an HGTV show called “Hometown Kickstart” and a great episode of that show which focused on a restaurant and bakery in Louisiana that employs women who are seeking recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism, offering them employment and a chance to get back on their feet. Today we will discuss this model of “neighbors helping neighbors” and how other communities might be able to duplicate these successful tactics. This blog is created by Florida Springs, the best drug and alcohol rehab in Florida, and our facility is in Panama City, Florida, near both Louisiana and Alabama. Geaux Fresh, the restaurant we are discussing today, is in Minden, Louisiana, a small town outside of Shreveport. They help women who have completed a faith-based recovery program at Generation House, a non-profit women’s program also located in Minden, LA.
The Theory of Transitional Housing and Employment
Geaux Fresh is owned by a woman named Jodie Martin, who was also featured in a recent article by People Magazine. Jodie Martin has been in recovery and sober for over 25 years. In the People Magazine article, Martin describes visiting other bakeries and dreaming about everything Geaux Fresh could do with more space and a more functional kitchen. The idea behind HGTV’s “Home Town Kickstart” is to give people like Jodie Martin the necessary renovations to do even more of what they were already doing. In the case of Geaux Fresh, that means employing and helping more women who have struggled with substance use disorder and have sought help at Generation House, the transitional housing charity which was started by a close friend of Martin.
For women in particular, research shows that there is a direct connection between addiction and homelessness. There is also strong research showing that women struggling with substance use disorder are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. Therefore, when the women at Geaux Fresh talk about Geaux Fresh being a “safe place”, they are touching on a key issue faced by women in early recovery. Stays in transitional housing, including halfway houses and other types of programs, eventually come to an end. Research shows many programs are limited to 60-360 days. With transitional housing often being temporary, offering employment to people who would otherwise struggle to find jobs is a life-saver for many women who are just getting clean from drugs and alcohol. Some of those women will often have left abusive relationships or bad domestic situations, so the ability to become self-sufficient and make enough money to make ends meet is of paramount importance. Such is the theory behind community programs like Jodie Martin’s Geaux Fresh restaurant and bakery, and Generation House in Minden, which offer a safe environment for women in early recovery, and gainful employment within that safe environment.
Shortfalls in the System
This week’s episode of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO discussed the shortfalls in services for people in need of mental health care. Emergency rooms around the country are filled with children and adults waiting for local beds to become available at inpatient mental health treatment facilities. Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center is one facility that offers beds to people needing mental health treatment related to addiction. There is a huge shortage of inpatient beds available for people who need addiction treatment, and there is likely an even larger shortage of beds for “primary-psych” services, or mental health treatment not primarily related to addiction to drugs and alcohol. This is the major reason that community-based programs and local charities have become so key in the fight against mental health disorders. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many more people have needed mental health care, but there has been almost no increase in the number of beds available for inpatient psychiatric care nationwide. People like Jodie Martin can only fill in a portion of these huge shortfalls. We need more evidenced-based drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs, like Florida Springs in Panama City, and we need many more beds for primary-psychiatric care all over the country. Until we can somehow make that happen, people like Jodie Martin, and places like Geaux Fresh and Generation House, will be of great importance.
By T.A. Cannon
Examining the Needs and Experiences of Domestic Violence Survivors in Transitional Housing. By: Clark, Dessie Lee, Wood, Leila, Sullivan, Cris M., Journal of Family Violence, 08857482, May 2019, Vol. 34, Issue 4
“Cafe Owner Helps Women Recovering from Addiction on HGTV’s Home Town Kickstart Presented by People” from People.com