Meet David Nelson, a cook slaying his demons as he meets the culinary needs of Well in the Desert
Every Sunday we introduce you to people in our community who are making a difference. This week we invite you to meet David Nelson, a cook for Well in the Desert.-
The people who make Palm Springs like no place else
The holidays have arrived, which means you will be asked to support various causes, including Palm Springs-based Well in the Desert (you can donate to The Well at this site). Among other efforts, The Well helps feed hundreds in the community, both housed and unhoused. People like David Nelson receive that help, and it often means the difference between success and failure. David walked into a meal service years ago, taking the difficult first step in an inspiring transformation. Today, David has not only successfully battled his demons, but he helps cook the meals that he once needed. Five days a week, you can find him working over a hot stove in the often cramped kitchen at The Church of St. Paul’s in the Desert, pouring his heart and soul into 300 daily meals served at various locations by The Well. “David has blossomed like a butterfly,” says Arlene Rosenthal, president of the nonprofit. She points to him as a shining example of success and proof that your donations make a difference. Meet David below.
OCCUPATION: Cook for Well in the Desert
NEIGHBORHOOD: Desert Highland Gateway Estates
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE DESERT? 9 years
WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? I was living in Pomona, and I took a fun bus to a casino here and never left.
WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE? I’ve been searching my whole life for something that inspires me, and this inspires me. I want to come to work every day, and I feel lost when I leave.
DO YOU HAVE FAMILY HERE? No. They are all in Oregon.
HOW DO YOU BEAT THE HEAT? I stay inside with the air conditioning set at 68 degrees in my room.
DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY BY WHICH YOU LIVE? My dad instilled in me a strong work ethic. He always said, “If you’re going to build something, make it like your signature.” I try to do everything to the max and the best that I can.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT? Lulu’s
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST ISSUE FACING OUR COMMUNITY? Anybody who tries to shut down The Well. If it wasn’t for The Well, I don’t know what would have become of me.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO OR PLACE TO GO IN THE DESERT? I like to just go home, get out my phone, and look at culinary websites.
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL PEOPLE ABOUT PALM SPRINGS THAT THEY MIGHT NOT ALREADY KNOW? People are so nice here.
WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? Pot
Photo by Brelinda