It was a Christmas Shirley would never forget. Too ill to provide for her small children, she unknowingly became the recipient of The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Shirley didn’t ask directly for help, but she remembers praying for her girls-hoping they would understand why there wouldn’t be any gifts under the tree this Christmas. Shirley’s prayers were answered. The Angel Tree program delivered a carload of toys, clothing and other necessities to help the housebound mother keep their spirits bright.
When Edward needed support to raise his son, he found caring people who helped them stay together. Edward’s goal was simple: through love and devotion, keep his autistic son Christopher out of foster care, while struggling to provide for him with no job and dwindling finances. Edward made the courageous decision to care for Christpoher first, and work when he could as long as it didn’t conflict with his son’s needs.
“Before The Salvation Army, I was hanging on by my fingernails,” said Edward. “They gave me respect and relieved my anxiety by giving me a safe, secure place to have a second chance at being a parent.”
Mariza had recently given birth to her first child when she was forced out on the street with nowhere to go. For nearly two years, Mariza lived in temporary housing with her baby, Maria, unable to work full time or afford childcare.
Homelessness became hopefulness as Mariza entered into the Life Skills program through The Salvation Army. She became certified in housekeeping where she is now a supervisor, moved into secured housing and enrolled Maria in childcare at The Salvation Army Child Development Center in downtown Jacksonville.
Gary had lost everything: his family, his home, his dignity. Gary was living under a construction trailer, supporting his addictions with what little he had. His pilgrimage to The Salvation Army was not a straight line, but eventually he was rescued at The Adult Rehabilitation Center. Once Gary walked though its doors, he found a life’s purpose beyond anything he had ever imagined. Not only did he regain his self-respect, he now counsels those who are socially, emotionally an spiritually lost.