Making It Better

On December 1, 2019, MHAB Life Skills Campus had a “soft” opening of its resident-run convenience store, MHAB Fresh, offering healthy foods primarily for its residents, area businesses and neighbors. The “soft” opening merged into a hard reality when COVID-19 became part of our lives. Since that time the team at MHAB has been busy creating opportunity in this time of change.

The MHAB Life Skills Campus is a revolutionary approach to help people in early recovery* providing housing and on-campus support services including a drop-in recovery center—All Ways to Recovery Community Center operated by Champlain Valley Family Center, as well as a fitness center—a community garden and greenhouse, employment and education services, and financial counseling. Pre- COVID19, the conference center and industrial kitchen served as a training site for the Clinton County Health Department and other local organizations to host cooking classes. With some restrictions easing, the Center has become a prime location for community service group meetings where up to 36 attendees can enjoy resident-made meals.

MHAB Fresh offers fresh soups, sandwiches and Grab-n-Go meals as part of its daily menu. Using in-house roasted meats, on-site garden-grown veggies and herbs and recipes created by MHAB residents and staff, its mission is to provide reasonably priced, healthy and delicious food options. Chief Cook and Director of Food Services, Trevor Laughlin, well known in the North Country, runs the kitchen with the help of MHAB residents. What sets MHAB Fresh apart lies in the true mission behind the work.

MHAB’s founder, Mike Carpenter, has spent more than 30 years helping people in recovery. Based on lessons learned through his own experiences and journey, MHAB embraces the key elements needed to find success. Developing connections to people and purpose, opening channels for new relationships and experiences, and taking personal responsibility are cornerstones to a successful life and foundational to what makes MHAB work. MHAB Fresh is one of the launching spots to provide all three of these key elements.

Sandwiches named The Ally, The Pete, The BBBad to the Bone, The MHAB Mike, and The Peppy Pig populate the daily menu as a reminder that our team provides the inspiration for our food. Collaboration on store design and layout, as well as Dinner-on the- Fly offerings by our residents employed by MHAB provide the new channels and accountability measures helping to make MHAB work.

While the global pandemic has impacted everyone’s life, it has been particularly harsh for those in recovery. The challenges of successful recovery have grown exponentially with the loss of human connection COVID has presented. Like most businesses, MHAB Fresh has had to re-invent the original plan to allow it to grow and f lourish. Curbside service, catering and delivery service for large orders are all a part of how MHAB is moving forward. With a returning customer rate of more than 80%, people are clearly pleased with both the delicious food options as well as the mission. If you haven’t tried MHAB Fresh yet, stop in soon to meet Assistant Manager Mike Waldron. Make it better. Make it Fresh. Make it MHAB Fresh!

Alcohol, Drug and Judgment free—
MHAB- It’s who we are.

*Recovery at MHAB includes those recovering from Substance Use Disorder, Mental Health Issues, Social and Financial Hardships.

MHAB Fresh
14 Dormitory Drive (Corner of New York Road & Idaho Ave.)
Plattsburgh, NY 12903
518 324-6422