Volunteer Appreciation Week - Pete & Mimi's Story

Apr 22, 2022 | by Joey Jackson

Reuniting people with their families is one of the many things we take pride in at The Salvation Army. But sometimes, it’s a surprise for both our clients and their loved ones.

Pete was weeks away from graduating the Salvation Army’s six-month drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Fayetteville, where he was the kitchen manager, when he met Mimi, a Salvation Army volunteer.

Mimi began volunteering with The Salvation Army in June 2021 with the Client-Choice Food Pantry where she prepared food boxes for families in the Fayetteville Public School system.

In February 2022, Mimi began volunteering in the Fayetteville shelter’s kitchen, where she met Pete. Pete recalls working on a busy Saturday and praying for help when a ‘little lady’ walked into the shelter saying she was there to volunteer.

After meeting Mimi and working together for a while, a lightbulb went off in Pete’s mind; the only Mimi he’s ever known was the Mimi that lived across the street from him as a young boy.

The two sat down and started talking about their families, childhoods, and where they each had lived. To Mimi’s surprise, it was right across the street from her home. After asking his first and last name, the two made the connection that they were distant cousins!

When he told me his first and last name, I called out his name, jumped up from the table, and we hugged each other,” said Mimi. “That wonderful moment, and each time I have volunteered for The Salvation Army, has been a true blessing from God.”

Now, after almost 40 years of no contact, Pete and Mimi stay in touch through The Salvation Army and volunteering.

“She knew I was that little boy from across the street 40 years ago that was found to be a relative,” said Pete. “40 years later God brought us back together through prayer and a good woman’s heart that just wanted to volunteer for a good cause.

Pete graduated from the rehabilitation program in March 2022 and was hired by The Salvation Army as a full-time monitor at the Fayetteville shelter following graduation.

If you’d like to volunteer with The Salvation Army, visit NWASalvationArmy.org or contact Joey Jackson at (479) 521-2151.

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