SECOND CHANCES | Annapolis restaurant offers employment for the homeless

SECOND CHANCES | Annapolis restaurant offers employment for the homeless

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) - At the Lighthouse Bistro, second chances for their staff will have you coming back for second servings of their food.

This Annapolis-based restaurant provides employment to homeless men and women from their affiliated shelter.

“I’ve built mountains in the past only to tear them down myself,” said employee Barry Possun. "This, I’m not going to tear down. I’ve got an opportunity and I’m going to take it.”

At 63 years old, Possun wasn't planning on a new career.

“I lived on a boat for seven years in Annapolis... [It] kind of went under…and I had no place to go,” he said. “So someone told me about the Lighthouse and two and two is four, and here I am. The culinary program is a bonus.”

His place in the world sank underneath him.

But now Possun's found a new footing in this 16-week culinary program.

“He had a great life, very successful,” said Linda Vogler, executive director of the culinary training program at the Lighthouse Shelter. “But it can happen to anybody. Things fall apart, things cave in.”

That's why the Lighthouse Bistro employs right out of their homeless shelter down the road.

“We hope we get them ready not just with how to cook an onion or sauté a potato or whatever, but how to be in a workplace, to understand the culture of the business world, be on time, work ethic,” said Vogler.

The program has an 85 percent job placement rate.

But for Possun, it is more than the promise of a paycheck.

“The camaraderie is neat. And since I like doing it, it’s not really work,” said Possun, adding with a laugh: "Don't tell them that."

Both fate and resolution led him to the lighthouse. Now the road ahead looks a little brighter.

“A year ago, I never thought I’d be here, but I am, and I’m definitely looking forward to the future. It's a new lease on life,” said Possun.

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