The last several years have been difficult for the Malone family, but with love and dedication to each other, they’ve overcome many obstacles together.
And through the hard times, mother Patti Malone and daughter Kirsten Malone have reestablished a close bond and are now working together to serve people in need in the Marion community.
Kirsten has overcome many difficulties in her young life, including drug addiction and a run-in with the local legal system. But she’s been sober for the past 14 months after receiving treatment through Recovery Works, a program operated by Pinnacle Treatment Centers.
During most of the time she was addicted to drugs, Kirsten did not live at home with her family. She returned home after completing treatment in August 2019.
“It took a lot of trust,” she said.
And Kirsten recently successfully completed the Marion County Common Pleas Court FIRST Court program, drawing praise from Judge WT Edwards during the graduation ceremony held April 29.
More:Graduates say Marion County drug court is a life changing experience
Patti said the Recovery Works program not only helped Kirsten get free of drugs, but also helped her deal with mental health issues.
“They really went in-depth with mental health,” Patti said. “That is so important in recovery. I have so much respect for Recovery Works. I feel like if the judge hadn’t sent her there, then she probably wouldn’t be where she is today.”
A key component to Kirsten’s recovery process has involved working alongside her mother at the Breaking Bread Food Pantry, 636 Bellefontaine Ave. in Marion. The Malone family opened the pantry in May 2021 and Kirsten and Patti have been together there from day one.
“It’s given me a sense of responsibility, kind of a place of my own,” Kirsten said. “Just being with my family in general has been great, because throughout my addiction I didn’t have anything to do with them whatsoever. So just being with them and watching this whole thing happen has been great.”
A grateful Patti said she’s glad to have her daughter back in her life and working alongside her.
“Kirsten and I work well together because we think a lot alike,” Patti said. “We have a lot of the same ideas about how to get things done. So we do work well together, most days, but we are mother and daughter, so we do have our moments. But she works like a mule. When she gets started, she works like a mule. She works so hard and she’s very dedicated.
“Kirsten has so learned so many skills over the years and that’s one of the reasons it was so heartbreaking to see her addicted because of the potential we knew she had and still has. But I’m glad she’s here working with me.”
Dad Frank said Kirsten tends to undersell her value to the success of the food pantry, noting that she “lights up” anywhere she goes.
“She’s a big part of this whether she realizes it or not,” he said. “From day one, she was in here swinging hammers and working on it. Everything that’s in here, she’s had a hand in it.”
“She designed our logo, too,” Patti added.
Patti and Frank are definitely Kirsten’s biggest fans, which she said means “pretty much everything” to her.
“They’re the only ones that have been there through literally every part of my life,” Kirsten said. “No matter if I was clean, using drugs, they still would’ve been just a phone call away.”
Kirsten said she hopes that Breaking Bread Food Pantry can not only be of service to hungry people in Marion, but also as a place where those in recovery can volunteer and find acceptance.
“My problem was that I didn’t really have a place in the world, I guess, and I think a lot of people can find that here,” she said. “Just knowing that they’re helping other people and we, in turn, are helping them.”
In addition to the volunteer work she is doing through the food pantry, Kirsten is employed at the Come, Sit, Stay Kennel in Ostrander. She was recently promoted to run the front office at the facility. She hopes to go back to college and earn a degree.
“I got accepted to (Southern New Hampshire University) last year for graphic design, so that’s something that I want to look into,” she said. “But I also want to look into being a peer support specialist.”
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