An Anonymous Letter of Gratitude
The hand-written letter was simply signed “Anonymous” with the word “blessed” written underneath. The Salvation Army of Rockford and Winnebago County received the letter from a previous client of Shirley’s Place, a residential facility that’s part of their Women’s Restorative Justice program, and Pathway of Hope, a program that helps individuals identify and overcome barriers to self-sufficiency. While they don’t know who sent it, they also consider themselves blessed to learn of this inspiring success story.
Just when I was about to lose hope, in 2015 I caught a gun charge and endangerment of a child charge. I lost my four children at the time, my house, my car, and the guy I took the charges for was in prison. I was sleeping from house to house and eventually ended up in my grandmother’s cold, damp basement on the floor.
At the end of 2016, I enrolled in Rosecrance outpatient [an addiction treatment center] and that’s when I heard about Shirley’s Place, where they help women in recovery. I called a few times and got discouraged when I kept hearing they had no room.
I found out I was pregnant in March of 2018. By this time I was desperate, so I called Shirley’s Place again and I moved into a 3-bedroom unit there. While I was in the program, I was able to learn how to budget, save some money, and keep my sobriety. Libra Martin helped me through my struggles with the courts by giving me encouraging words and giving me constructive criticism when needed.
After one year and one month I left Shirley’s Place, but I was on the road to getting my son back. Before I left there, though, they supplied me with everything I needed for my new baby and made sure I had what I needed for my son to return home – clothes, food, hygiene, and whatever else. I went to stay with my sister, who at the time had custody of my son (youngest). My oldest son lived with his father and my two older daughters were in the independent program through DCFS. My baby girl lived with her father, but I got her every weekend.
One day I showed up for a food pantry appointment and asked Major Hill to pray for me as she had many times at Shirley’s Place. When I walked out, Felicia [a Salvation Army case manager] asked me how I was doing. It seemed as if God answered my prayers. Felicia asked if I would like to join the Pathway of Hope program, and after hearing what I had to do to be in the program, and all the things they could help me accomplish, I agreed.
I thank God for The Salvation Army because if it weren’t for Felicia letting me know about the Pathway of Hope program, I don’t know how I would have made it during this pandemic. Helping with food through the pantry twice a month, helping me with bills and rent when I didn’t have the financial means. I’m ever so grateful.
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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.