I was brought here for a reason
21st Apr 2023
This blog is part of our “We Are CPLC” series of letters from CPLC staff. We hope you are inspired by these stories of our community by our familia. When you donate to CPLC, you directly support their work.
They call me “Mamá Claudia.”
I am like a second mother to them. Even the señores over 60 call me that! It’s beautiful, and they make me feel special. They view me with so much love and respect.
My name is Claudia Ruiz. I am one of two cooks at CPLC Corazón, a home where men can live while they recover from drug or alcohol addiction. I had never seen so many muchachos in need before I started working here. I did not choose to come here. But I believe God chose me for a reason: to feed these muchachos and be like a mother for them, when their mothers are far away or sleeping now.
I never thought I would follow in my Mamá Tití’s footsteps.
My mother was so strong. She was also a chef. She was a single mother and, as hard as it was, she managed to raise my seven siblings and I all on her own, back in Mexico.
Today, I follow in her footsteps, making food with a mother’s love for these young men in need.
But I didn’t always love them. In fact, I used to judge them.
I have a brother and nephews in Mexico who suffer from alcohol abuse. I couldn’t understand why they would choose to harm themselves and their families, but after getting to know the muchachos at Corazón, I realized I got it all wrong.
I began to understand that what they are going through is like an illness. It's an addiction. They have other problems in their lives that led them to use alcohol or drugs, but they’re good people. They’re such good people.
The muchachos often help me wash dishes in the kitchen. It’s an excuse to get a second serving of the pudín that brought one young man to tears, because it reminded him so much of his abuelita. Or to talk to me about how much they’re longing to get healthy to be able to see their child soon. Like I was their own mother.
Every time I come into work at 3 am, I find they are waiting for me in the kitchen. Waiting to tell me about their nightmares, their dreams, their latest problems, or the good things happening in their lives.
And I’ve come to cherish these moments so much. My kids never gave me any problems, but I’ve found these muchachos who need my mother’s love. And I feel as if I am helping my nephews in Mexico.
I remember when I was younger and I would wash my mother’s clothing. I would give it back to her, complaining of the smell of grease on the clothing. I worried about her.
The other day, my son showed up at the center with my clothes, freshly cleaned. He complained my clothes were so dirty with the smell of grease.
I could only smile. I am proud I followed in my mother’s footsteps.
God brought me here to take care of these muchachos.
To be their “Mamá Claudia.”
Chef, CPLC Corazón