I moved into the Salvation Army's Night Shelter called the Center of Hope in November. Having been in North Carolina for two months (I’m originally from Philadelphia, PA) before this time, everything was unfamiliar to me. I would spend much of the little money I had on gas for my car each week. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this pattern wasn’t sustainable and I started to wonder how I was going to make it.
I would think, even if I could find employment, then I would be struggling to pay for childcare and to put gas in my car. None of the entry-level positions that I qualified for would not pay me enough to cover these essential expenses. It was anxiety provoking and I became stuck. I found myself drowning in doubts and fears.
Then, I found the The Salvation Army Center of Hope.
After a few nights at the Center of Hope, I had the opportunity to tell my story to my case manager. He didn’t judge me or tell me that I should have known better. He just listened to me in a way that let me know that he genuinely cared. Then he asked if he could pray for me. I agreed. His prayer was powerful. Even after I left his office, my children were silent. Something about that prayer left me with a sense of hope.
But He was not the only one there planting seeds of hope and life into our family. The cook at the center also made sure that my children had a hot breakfast. He said that he did not like to see children leave without something hot on their stomach! It was grits, eggs, and toast with jelly and the kids loved it. Another lady gave my children snack bags with scriptures each day. One person helped by donating all sorts of Christmas toys. Another person was always available to help get families what they needed, from blankets, to socks, to gloves for my family.
Then there was Ms. Rose, who assisted with my intake. She was the sweetest of them all. She helped in every way imaginable – from helping me pour in my laundry detergent, to being my guide to the area and all of the services offered by The Salvation Army.
The staff at the Center of Hope probably think that much of what they do is thankless and goes unnoticed. Some of their actions might seem small or subtle. But I have not forgotten them and I will never forget the impact they had on my life while my family stayed there.
Thank you for providing hope for our family.
This story was adapted from a piece written by Sheryl following a stay at The Salvation Army Center of Hope.