As another year winds to a close, many of us are feverishly ticking off our endless holiday to-do lists. With so many exciting events with friends and family, our hearts are full to the bursting with togetherness and cheer.
For individuals and families experiencing homelessness, the holidays signify a completely different type of busy. They are busy trying to keep up with their endless litany of appointments with local agencies. They are busy piecing together the fragments of their lives. Last year, Mandy was one of those individuals.
Mandy and her two daughters came to Hope House last fall with little but their clothes on their backs. After fleeing an abusive relationship, she found herself sleeping in a car, while her daughters stayed with relatives. Mandy had always been independent, but had recently agreed to a relationship with a man who ended up violating her trust.
What struck me most about Mandy was her calm presence with her children. Her live was in utter turmoil, but she remained a steady and stable figure for her daughters. She clearly loved her children fiercely and was working long hours to try and get them back on their feet. We cheered and cried with Mandy when she was able to secure housing and move into a new apartment just before Christmas.
I went to visit her one day after she decorated her tree and hung stockings for her little girls. Her girls hugged me tight and thanked me for my help. I was able to deliver the wonderful news that through the help of a generous donor the family would also receive gifts for Christmas. Mandy’s eyes were filled with tears of relief. Hope had returned to their lives.
I am often moved and motivated by the strength in the families we serve. Mandy was on of them and it was deeply gratifying to walk alongside her in her journey. At the same time, without the support of community members who are also dedicated to this mission, Christmas and that hope may have passed Mandy’s family by. Thank you for filling Mandy’s Christmas and life with hope!