When John Rolerand is cooking, all of his troubles melt away.

“I just love to cook different things for people, and seeing that they enjoy it,” says Rolerand, a former resident of the Shelters of Saratoga homeless shelter.

Up until recently, he didn’t have his own kitchen. For the seven months during the pandemic, he resided in the homeless shelter.

What You Need To Know

  • John Rolerand lived in a shelter during the pandemic for seven months

  • The pandemic opened eyes in the community to just how many people are in need

  • He now volunteers at the same shelter that helped him find a place to live

“It was a little bit scary because you’re with all different kinds of people,” he said.

Now, he’s back on his feet in permanent housing thanks to Shelters of Saratoga.

His one piece of advice? Don’t take anything for granted.

“It can happen to anybody, whether you’re on top or the bottom," he said. "It's one paycheck away from being outside."

During the pandemic, people across the country were struggling, but Duane Vaughn with Shelters of Saratoga says here, the need for a place to sleep remained high before, during and after the height of the pandemic.

He says COVID-19 really opened the community’s eyes to how many people are suffering.

“Our community started to look at those most vulnerable and they stepped up the game," Vaughn said. "I mean, we got a lot of donations, especially with food and things like that, to make sure we were taking care of those that need us most."

The community is not the only ones giving back.

Every week, you’ll find Rolerand back at the shelter, doing what he loves most — cooking — for the people still living there.

“Help some of these people who don’t have the skills to learn to cook on their own, which I try to help them, so that if they leave, at least they can cook a little bit for themselves,” Rolerand said.