Room For Hope by Tahesha
When I hit tough times, I was living in Florida at the height of the pandemic with five children ranging from fourteen to two. Like many people, I became behind on my responsibilities like rent and utility bills. I tried to be thankful for everyone that wanted to help, but it was hard to be grateful when I had a $300 light bill and only $90 in cash from friends and people trying to help.
So, I packed the kids and started driving back to my hometown in Michigan to be closer to my family to hopefully seek their help. On the way, my car broke down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and at that moment, I felt distraught and out of answers. I had no money for a hotel room and no money to repair my car, so I was out of answers.
Someone stopped to help me and mentioned calling The Salvation Army for assistance which I thought was odd because I thought The Salvation Army was only a thrift store. The person that took my call told me to come with my children to their Center of Hope Shelter at 4 pm that same day.
I have learned when you stop being angry, hurt and defensive, you have room to grow and that’s what The Salvation Army did for me, starting with Christ Jesus.
At this point, I feel like a failure as a mother. I have all my children and no support system; I’m away from everyone I know and love, and my mental health was taking a toll. Without realizing it, that day The Salvation Army took my family in was the first time I felt hope.
After staying in the shelter for a few days, I started going to The Salvation Army’s church services and Sunday School classes and becoming more involved with the church. This started helping me open up and think more positively so I could receive information and guidance from the staff that was already there supporting me.
Around that time, one of the counselors on The Salvation Army staff, Mrs. Collins, talked with me about the many programs The Army offered for my children and me to help guide us back on the right path. I took advantage of those programs, and they really propelled me.
One of the programs I started taking with The Army was AA. I used alcohol as a way to procrastinate. Becoming clean has helped me with life’s daily tasks and being there for my babies.
The Salvation Army also introduced me to The McKinney-Vento program to help me with childcare. If my children needed clothes, shoes, Wi-Fi, school supplies, or medicine, this program found a way to get it to us. This ensured my children the education they deserved.
Through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, I didn’t have to worry about spending money on presents during Christmas time for my children. I was able to save up and focus on getting my family into an apartment.
My oldest daughter has sickle cell disease, and she was always in the hospital. The Salvation Army helped me learn about United Way so they could connect me with the Sickle Cell Association of West Alabama. From then on, The Army began to help me with transportation for my daughter and go back and forth to the hospital to see her specialists.
With these programs and being a resident in the Center of Hope Shelter, I have learned when you stop being angry, hurt, and defensive, you have room to grow, and that’s what The Salvation Army did for me, starting with Christ Jesus.
My Salvation Army family did more for me in a few months than any support I have ever received in my whole life. Nobody judged me, nobody made fun of me or talked about me; I didn’t hear my business around the center, which created a level of trust where I could be comfortable with The Army. Their staff is full of people who genuinely care with no stipulations. This is where I feel genuine love.
Now I’m working alongside The Salvation Army to help other people receive hope the way The Salvation Army has shown and taught me.