Carolyn FortinoApr 23, 2017, 3:36 pmApr 24, 2017, 7:44 am

Former White Plains shelter resident fights hunger as shelter's chef

Demingus Chambers was once a client of the Open Arms Men's Shelter, which provides food and refuge for at-risk men

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Demingus Chambers is the food service manager and head chef at the Open Arms Men's Shelter in White Plains, but he wasn't always working as an employee at the facility.

"I was here, a resident of Open Arms for about four months,” said Chambers. “I took care of my business, I used the resources here, and got up out of here and went out on my own."

Demingus was placed at Open Arms after being incarcerated, relying on the organization to help him get his life together and find an affordable place to call home.

But when the program director contacted him about an employment opportunity in the kitchen, Demingus says he knew it was time for him to return to Open Arms in a completely different way.

"When you're in this situation, you see it a lot more,” added Demingus. “You see that it's not just drug addicts and bums on the street. You see that it's just everyday people, that go through bad situations. I said I want to give back, I want to help."

That was in February of 2010, and Demingus has been running the kitchen at Open Arms ever since. For the past seven years, he has spent every weekday befriending the men who live at the shelter and hearing their stories. Demingus helps serve as an inspiration by teaching them that you can turn your life around if you want to.

"Me personally, I wouldn't call myself a complete success story. But to come out of jail, to come into the homeless system, to get out and to have been working here for seven years, he said that's a great thing. He said he looked up to me, and you know I don't do this so people could look up to me. But I said thank you," said Demingus.

The Open Arms Men’s Shelter is open 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. People in need of assistance can either be placed by the Department of Social Services or they can just walk in, and no one is ever turned away.

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