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hometown hero

VIDEO: God has a plan for Peoria-based Deep Within

Humes named Hometown Hero in Spiritual category


The COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on everybody, but 2020 is a year Cindy Humes will never forget.

That fateful year, she lost her mother to natural causes and lost her husband, Lee, after a three month battle with coronavirus.

During that period, Lee was in isolation with no access, so family members spent hours outside the hospital, sending their love and prayers to his room from the parking lot.

It was a devastating blow to the Humes family — and to the family Lee had helped build at Deep Within Rehab, a Peoria-based nonprofit homeless and rehab center for men that he and Cindy founded nearly 20 years ago.

Another blow hit the family after Lee’s death — several weeks before Lee’s passing, faith-based Deep Within had launched a $250,000 capital campaign to buy the property they had been renting for years only to later have the property owner retract the offer to sell.

As tragedy seemed to approach from all sides, Tricia Quezada, Cindy’s daughter and program director at Deep Within, asked her mother, “What are we going to do now?”

Cindy answered, “‘We’re going to pray and continue to work hard to stay open,’”Quezada said. “And that’s what is being done to this very day. Cindy has never once closed Deep Within Rehab, even with her husband at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center from April 1, 2020, until his passing, 59 days later on May 29, 2020.”

Deep Within made it through the worst part of the pandemic and has found success despite adversity.

In November, Peoria City Council approved a three-year, $200,000 per year contract with Deep Within Rehab for open shelter beds to help with homelessness in the city.

“This will allow some much needed funding for the facility, as well as addressing the ongoing homeless population in Peoria and the immediate surrounding areas and cities,” Quezada said.

She added that Cindy displays amazing leadership qualities and is constantly teaching and guiding the men at Deep Within, and she effectively and efficiently runs the nonprofit on a daily basis, living on-site, with no days off, and has been for the last 17 years.

Cindy takes comfort in knowing that God’s intentions are purposeful.

“Losing my husband and partner in this ministry at the very beginning of COVID was beyond what our family had ever imagined and many people watched us pray for his recovery. They never saw me waver in my faith even after his passing. God had his plan to allow Deep Within to remain open and continue on the mission with helping those in need,” Cindy said.

Get to know Cindy here.

What I like most about living in Peoria.

Peoria has such a hometown feel. The sense of community is beyond anywhere else I have lived. We felt welcomed from the moment we moved here.

Personal background highlights.

Born in New York, moved to Arizona when I was 12, married and traveled the world due to my spouse being in the Army. Settled back down in Arizona in 1994 where I have raised seven children and now have 11 grandchildren.

Professional background highlights.

Deep Within has been my highlight for the last 20 years. Making a difference for those in need.

What does it mean to be a Peoria resident?

I am thankful to be here in Peoria. The city government has allowed so much growth within the community and we love to watch it continue to grow and flourish. The mayor and council members are so approachable and care about the community.

What do you think you bring to the local community that makes it better?

Deep Within provides a shelter for any male that needs anything at all. Often times individuals may not stay in the program but they do know that they have the option for a hot meal and a shower. Deep Within is a family-operated, nonprofit, six-month residential men’s drug and alcohol recovery program that has served in Peoria for the past 17 years. There is no cost to any male individual wanting to reside and program at Deep Within Rehab. Deep Within provides residents with a clean, safe and structured environment, three meals a day, a bed in a dorm-style living area, hygiene items, new or gently used clothing and shoes, new undergarments and socks, vocational training and job placement after a six-month successful completion of the program.

What would you tell people about why it’s important to make a difference?

It is easy to watch the news or see those in need and think the problem is too big, and your kindness won’t be enough, but that is not the case. No act of kindness is too small. Be the good you wish to see in the world.

Changes I’d like to see in this area.

I would like to see a decrease in homelessness here in Peoria. The partnering with Deep Within and the city of Peoria will allow homeless men an option to gain shelter and transition to our program and obtain employment.

My family (what have they taught you).

Commitment, resilience, the positivity of when we all work together. In recent years, my grandson was born at 26 weeks, my daughter was very ill, my husband
passed due to COVID, and the passing of my mother tested us as a family unit. Deep Within is a self sustaining nonprofit and with the pandemic we did not have many opportunities to work to pay the bills, but we stuck together and persevered.

My interests and hobbies.

Running a shelter 24/7 does not allow too many outside hobbies. So my idea
of a good day is having my kids and grandkids spending the day with the men of Deep Within as one big family. We grill and share jokes.

The trait(s) I admire in others.

“Doers of the word, not just hearers” James 1; 22- 25.

People who inspired me (and how).

Lucy Woodruff formally with the Tolleson Food Bank. Lucy went through personal struggles when she lost her son to cancer, then lost her husband and sister but remained faithful to her ministry and giving back to her community for decades.

My guiding philosophy.

Jeremiah 29:11. Often we get caught up in figuring out every moment, but we need to step back and see God’s plan.

My advice to today’s youth.

To be ok with being different, to not be tempted by the influence of drugs and alcohol, and to find a career that brings out a passion within them. It’s ok to ask for help!

Name a couple future goals.

For many years our goal had been to purchase the property Deep Within
resides on but unfortunately the owners no longer are choosing to sell after the down payment had been raised. We continue to pray they will have a change of heart as we are both emotionally and financially invested in this property we have been on for nearly 20 years. My prayer is: Deep Within remains serving those in need and we can continue to expand.

Philip Haldiman can be reached at phaldiman@iniusa.org, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.