This June, my husband gave me the HOPE key bracelet for our anniversary and said that he believes I provide hope to others. I had changed careers and began working at a nonprofit agency, surrounding issues of poverty. Through this work, I have had the opportunity to assist those experiencing crisis, provide them with resources, and refer them to other agencies. When an individual or family leaves more at peace, more empowered, and in better spirits, my heart is filled with warmth and a deep sense of purpose. Over the past five and a half months, I have met some amazing people who have experienced incarceration, fires, domestic violence, and homelessness, just to name a few issues.
The most touching story began two weeks ago. A single mother called me needing food from our pantry. When she came in with her daughter, she shared that the past three years have been very difficult. In 2011, she and her two kids experienced a fire in their apartment. The following year, her daughter was diagnosed with an adult form of leukemia. As a result, she needed to quit her job to take her daughter to chemotherapy appointments. Soon after, the financial struggles began. On top of this, she got unexpectedly became pregnant by a boyfriend who soon left and denied that the child was his. Needless to say, the past few years have been stressful, scary, and life changing. She came to me looking for baby clothes, furniture, and household items. Determined to help this family, I turned to my volunteers and Facebook. What has occurred over the past two weeks has been amazing. I was able to provide her with the baby furniture and items she needed. With each donation, she cried, and receiving all these items brought her a sense of peace and hope that everything will be okay. She told me that she went from feeling nervous about having nothing to feeling like I have given her a baby shower.
Next week I am leaving my job for a new opportunity. I am grateful that I have made a new friend. When I left her mother's house this week, I was told that I am part of the family and always have a place in their home. This was a beautiful moment and I cannot wait for the birth of her son. Her daughter continues to get stronger and is filled with such passion for life. This family truly inspires me through their foundation of love, support, and togetherness. This Wednesday, I will be treating them to dinner and will give my bracelet to this wonderful mother. She has been through a lot of pain, but as she said this new baby boy has brought them together. He is the hope for a new beginning and journey. I am so grateful that they entered my life, for this family will pay it forward with their love and compassion.