"I Made It Over!"
Each year, Christmas does not look the same for everyone. Many families struggle with providing themselves with meals and shelter, let alone Christmas presents for their kids. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to cause economic and financial problems across the country, this year is no different. But there is hope - The Salvation Army is fighting to Rescue Christmas for as many families as possible. The need is greater than before, but our mission is the same. How exactly do we help? One of our Pathway of Hope families from the past year has graciously stepped up to help us tell our story.
2019 was a scary and life-threatening year for me. I had to make one of the toughest choices of my life – not only for me, but for my children as well. We had to leave everything behind for our safety. I moved into a shelter to seek help.
As time went by in the shelter, I asked myself, as many other parents do, “How will I be able to give my kids a great Christmas in this situation?” I thought to sign up for Angel Tree and scheduled an appointment at The Salvation Army Saginaw Corps Community Center to request help so my kids could have a wonderful Christmas. I sat there with a wonderful woman named Ms. Hayley, and as I began to explain my family’s situation, I began to cry. I was overcome with emotion and embarrassment. But Ms. Hayley offered me a tissue and let me know that it was okay to cry and encouraged me to share more. In that moment, I knew a relationship was forming. It felt beyond a professional relationship, more like a new friend. She encouraged me, she listened to me, and she did not judge me. Before I left the office that day Ms. Hayley began to talk to me about a program called Pathway of Hope. She expressed to me the ways that she thought this program would benefit me. As I wiped away my tears, I agreed that I needed this program.
As weeks went by, Ms. Hayley persistently checked in on me. During our meetings, she helped me feel comfortable in expressing how I felt, and she asked me what my goals for my family were. Because of her questions, I was able to think about some things that I had not previously considered. Ms. Hayley helped me set goals for myself, and I was able to access other programs and resources to help me get a vehicle. I was also able to find the strength to take my accuser to court through the encouragement I received. Not only that, but Pathway of Hope provided bunk beds for my children when I moved from the shelter into my own place.
If there is one thing I’ll miss about the Pathway of Hope Program, it’s the face-to-face meetings. I always looked forward to them. Whether it was a good cry or encouragement, there was always help available. I think this program could benefit a lot of people. Everyone's situation is different, but because of the kindness, gentleness, professionalism, and counseling I received, I can say, “Here I am. I made it over!”
If you need help this Christmas season, find a Salvation Army location near you.