Getting to Know the Gittens - Capital Area Food Bank
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Getting to Know the Gittens

By Kirsten Bourne September 17, 2014

gittensAfter three years of homelessness, Epiphaney and Humberto Gittens finally put down roots in Anacostia. Both army veterans, the couple traveled all over the country searching for jobs and a home they could afford, often times staying with friends and family, in hotels when they had the money, and finally in their car.  Epiphaney left the army in 2007 when their first son was born, and Humberto was discharged in 2011. He took culinary arts classes in the different cities they visited, but home prices were out of the couple’s price range.
“We just weren’t able to find a place we could afford,” said Epiphaney.  After first meeting in Washington, DC, they went on to work in San Diego, from there moved to North Carolina and Virginia, and finally returned to DC this spring to be near family and the Art Institute, where Humberto is enrolled in the culinary arts program.  Epiphaney studies forensic psychology at St. Augustine University and wants to ultimately help child victims of crime.
Here in DC, they found Central Union Mission’s Food PLUS Center, one of the Capital Area Food Bank food assistance partners, through a resource listing. “We are so glad we came,” said Epiphaney. “At the Food PLUS Center, you’re not just a number. They gave us a hug, we talked together, cried together. It’s more than just getting some free food. The people have great hearts and were telling us, ‘You are down now, but you can get up.’”
The Gittens’ new two-bedroom apartment, located in a gated building, allowed for the couple’s three boys – ages 7, 5 and 2 – to have their own bedroom to share. Epiphaney and Humberto want to eventually open a restaurant in their Anacostia neighborhood, but in the meantime, they are all about cooking meals at home and making healthy green smoothies for their boys.

The Gittens’ involvement with Central Union Mission’s Food PLUS Center has allowed them to become a part of the organization’s family in a deeper way.  Deborah Chambers, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement at Central Union Mission, helped secure many rooms’ worth of furniture for their new home. Chambers also hired Epiphaney for a part-time office job, and Humberto as a part-time cook for the summer camp. She hopes to help them find full-time employment soon.
The Capital Area Food Bank’s network of food assistance partners provides valuable services to their clients, as evidenced by Central Union Mission’s work with the Gittens family.  The Gittens story is a powerful example of how the CAFB and its partners help reduce hunger and empower individuals in need throughout the Washington metro region.