"I Couldn’t Even Buy Shoes for My Kids"
Working in a department store, I barely earned enough money to support my family. Things were already difficult as a single mom, but barely living paycheck to paycheck made it even harder.
So when I missed a few days of work when one of my kids was sick, my weekly paycheck was smaller than usual, leaving me unable to pay some bills. I had never asked anyone for help before, and I didn’t want to now. But I put my pride aside, and went to The Salvation Army.
As I filled out the paperwork for financial assistance, I talked about my job. I told The Salvation Army worker that one of my duties at the store was to put shoes on the shelves.
And that’s when I lost it.
With tears in my eyes, I said, “Do you know how hard it is to put shoes on shelves all day long and not be able to buy your own children a new pair of shoes?”
The Salvation Army answered my prayers that day—not just to pay my utility bills, but also to buy my kids some shoes.
Shoes. Such a little thing, so easy to take for granted. But when your kids’ shoes are falling apart, you realize how important they are.
I’m just glad that no problem is too small for The Salvation Army. They quickly made me feel at ease, even loved, on that first day. My shame immediately disappeared.
Their small act of kindness was a very big thing to me.
Can a Family of 4 Live on $5 a Month?
Imagine a family of four living on $5 a month after paying rent and basic bills. This is where Paul and his family found themselves after the struggling economy claimed the restaurant he managed.
“I was devastated,” says Paul. “Beyond the loss of substantial income, losing a job also comes with other losses — loss of professional identity, sense of security and self-esteem.”
Paul recalls gathering pocket change to buy milk and telling his children he couldn’t give them money for pizza day at school. The cupboards were near bare and the family could no longer pull together a complete meal.
With your support, The Salvation Army has been able to help Paul and his family. While he continues to seek employment, his family can count on balanced, nutritious meals.
“The Army restored my inner strength,” says Paul. “They assured me there was nothing to be ashamed of. I wasn’t judged, but was welcomed and helped. That’s what I needed.”
The Art of a Brand New Life
A serious medical condition left Kathryn in a coma for a couple of weeks, and when she woke up, she had severe memory loss and much trouble with verbal communication. She applied for disability payments, but was denied.
When she started falling behind on bills and rent payments, Kathryn turned to her local Salvation Army for assistance – and to serve as a volunteer working with the homeless. While there, she received lots of love and support from the staff.
Still struggling with memory loss and communication issues, Kathryn began expressing herself through art. It soon became clear she was very gifted. As her memory and speaking skills returned, Kathryn started a children’s art program at The Salvation Army. She took on a few private students, and then her own art began showing at local galleries.
Kathryn was finally approved for disability payments, so she was able to catch up on rent and her bills. And as her art began to sell, she became independent, and is doing well today.
“I could not have made it without all the love and support that The Salvation Army showed me,” she says today. “They never judged me, they appreciated me, and they supported me as I grew into a new person. They’ll never know how much they helped me.”
Now they do. And so do you. Stories like Kathryn’s just don’t happen without you!
As Winter Turns to Spring . . .
There’s no better metaphor for new life than the transition of winter into spring. Listen to the way C. S. Lewis describes it in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe:
Every moment more and more of the trees shook off their robes of snow. Soon, wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw the dark green of firs or the black prickly branches of bare oaks and beeches and elms. Then the mist turned from white to gold and presently cleared away altogether. Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor . . .
At The Salvation Army, we see signs of spring all year round. Lives are transformed from darkness to light. Cold souls find the warmth of God’s love. Hard hearts burst through the surface and explode into colorful blooms.
None of this could happen without your support. Thanks to your compassion and generosity, these kinds of transformations happen all the time at The Salvation Army.
Please continue supporting us this spring. We appreciate your gifts and prayers, and we’d like to invite you to partner with us as a volunteer. We can always use an extra hand or two at our local offices—whether you can spare 30 minutes a month or three days a week.
Whatever your background, skills, or availability, you can help those we serve. Please call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or visit www.salvationarmycleveland.org to volunteer today.