Baby Steps

Feb 19, 2024

From our Director of Social Services, Monica Luithle:

“Come quickly, this irrational lady thinks she can bring her pet inside” the front desk assistant practically shouted. With an exasperated sigh, I got up from my desk and headed to the lobby.

I was instantly drawn to her. With eyes brimming with tears and her voice quivering, she said, “I need my pet with me, and I need some help.”  I introduced myself, gently explained our animal policy, and helped her settle her dog comfortably inside her car. We moved back inside to talk over a cup of hot coffee. Desperation caused her voice to tremble as she shared her all too familiar story. Within seconds, I had learned that her life had quickly unraveled after she recently became widowed with no family nearby. Compounded by stress, sickness sent her to an extended stay in the hospital, which led to losing her job, then led to an eviction, and now she found herself sleeping in her car.

Fast forward one week and my new friend came bouncing into Recreate Café. She grabbed me in a big bear hug after I asked her if she had enjoyed our lady's Mardi-Bra Boutique event. She squealed and enthusiastically nodded her head as she opened her bag to display her new undergarments and other goodies. As I oohed and awed, she shouted, “I got a new job; I start on Monday!” I’m still in my car, but I have a place to park and the WiFi code me and my pet is safe. The next step is finding an affordable apartment.” I hugged her again as I replied, “That’s great news!”

She smiled and gushed her thanks for listening and for the prayers. She asked what she needed to do to volunteer. Then, like all good things, she grabbed another gal, one of our chronic cases, who comes in each day or two and hugged her like a momma. Grinning, she stated, “I made sure this one got here to shop, too!” With that, a new door opened, a door I had been asking Jesus to open. Don’t miss that. A door I had been asking him to open. Now, my new friend is working toward housing, and the unhoused friend I’ve been praying for opened up, joked, and laughed with us.  This may seem small, but in my line of work, “every penny in the bucket” is a baby step forward.  

So when you pray, pray for my new friend to find housing and my old friend to make strides toward healing and wholeness. And when you wonder what you can do to help others.  Remember, my friend sleeps in her car and only has left what fits in her backseat, but she found a way to connect and befriend someone in need. If everyone helps, everyone is helped.

Due to your donations and support of The Salvation Army, people like this are helped all over the lower Tennessee Valley. You can donate here to help the next person take their first step to self-sufficiency. If everyone helps, everyone is helped.

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