By Celine Klosterman
For many guests at the Oaks of Mamre Catholic Worker House in Davenport, celebrating the Christmas season with family isn’t an option.
Transience, substance addiction and mental illness can strain some guests’ relationships with relatives; others have little family to begin with. So for people who would otherwise be alone over the holidays, the house’s founder Michael Gayman tries to create a festive atmosphere.
“We try to be as much of a family for folks as possible,” he said of several men staying at the house. “We decorated the tree as a community last week. We’re seeing more people at our dinners…. We don’t ignore the fact that guests aren’t with family; we discuss it. I do a lot of listening.”
For people battling an addiction, the holidays are a common time to relapse, Gayman said. “We try to give folks a safe place to go when they’re dealing with some of these things.”
“Everybody sometimes struggles during the holidays, but when you’re in a homeless situation, it’s that much more difficult,” Cindi Gramenz said. She is program director at Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc., in Davenport.
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