Cherry Street treated me like family

Five years ago, Daryl Ribby was living as a guest at Cherry Street Mission Ministries, staring out the windows of the Life Revitalization Center, Hungry for Change.

On July 31, 2022, Daryl will celebrate his six-month work anniversary making Comfort Line® windows at a facility just eight miles from CSMM. In six short months, he has already earned a promotion to Line Leader, now overseeing the line that is manufacturing all of the windows for Cherry Street.

And that’s just the beginning.

Daryl’s boss and plant manager at Comfort Line, Matt Callanan, recalls vividly the day Daryl found out the company was awarded the contract to manufacture and install 519 new windows at Cherry Street’s LRC.

“His eyes lit up,” Matt said. “Daryl told me he used to be at Cherry Street. And I had no idea. Someone who was a guest here at Cherry Street is now making the windows we’re installing here today. That’s an amazing story.”

Experiencing homelessness came as a shock to Daryl at first, as it does to many others. He had experienced a difficult end to a relationship, and in the aftermath, he lost everything.

“I thought it was the end of the world,” Daryl said. “I was hurting. I didn’t think this would be me. But from the first day I got to Cherry Street, I told everyone this is going to be as short term as it can be.”

And he backed up that prediction – in a big way.

Daryl and his fiance, whom he met while they were both guests at Cherry Street, are now former guests supporting themselves, and supporting the community through the work they are doing week after week. And Daryl’s first visit back was the day he recently stopped by to see his shiny new windows replacing the existing opaque plexiglass windows that were installed many years ago.

“I made the best of my time here,” he said. “The people at Cherry Street helped me out tremendously. I appreciate all that everyone did for me. When I found out our windows were going here, I was so excited to help build them. I’m loving it.”

“The people that worked here treated me like family,” he added. “The conversations. Getting to know everyone. The comfort that this place provides makes it like home. But that’s the hard part. I didn’t want this to be my permanent home. Not that I didn’t like it, but I wanted my own place again.”

Daryl said he arrived at CSMM willing to listen to what the staff had to say. He was aware that “free advice – the good kind – is hard to come by,” and he understood the value of just sitting – and listening.

“Don’t be the only one talking,” he said. “Listening will be your best tool here. The people at Cherry Street are going to steer you in the right direction. Being here will change your life, if you let it.”

“There were points I thought, ‘what is my life becoming?’ But I’m a first-hand example, that there are a lot of very good people here. I’m still friends with alot of people I met here. This place will help you. Whatever help you need. Period.”

Back at the Comfort Line plant, Matt calls Daryl one of the best workers. He’s always smiling, has a great attitude that hasn’t changed a day that he’s been here. “Infectious” is how he describes Daryl’s positive affect on his co-workers.

In fact, Daryl has a new family, as he refers to his fellow employees.

“I’ve had a lot of jobs in 40-some years,” he said, “and this is the best. The management team is awesome, and my co-workers are awesome. We’re all a bunch of hard-working people who love doing what we do.”

Matt said “flourishing from within” is his company’s motto, and that they have many long-tenured employees with decades of service time. He added that he hopes Daryl is with the company a long time to come.

With the help of Cherry Street, an opportunity from a great local business, and Daryl’s determination, his story is just beginning.

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