Picture this: A single mom raising two kids. One is a bright, responsible, kind, and positive 15 year old girl. The other a gentle, fun-loving, and adventurous 9 year old boy. This family has strong bonds with each other. They love and support one another unlike most families you see nowadays. Matty (the mom) is a persevering full-time nurse’s assistant, working graveyard shifts, while her beautiful kids sleep in their car nearby in the parking lot where she works. But, the nights were getting colder. The kids in the car fondly look back to just a few months ago when the nights were warmer and they slept peacefully in a tent at local campground.
This has been their life for the last three years. Mom is trying to provide a life for her kids better than her own childhood. Matty loves her mother but she recalls pain and sadness as her own mom succumbed to the pressures of life and turned to drugs to ease the pain. Matty wants the best for her kids. Last November, the Department of Human Services (DHS) stepped in and told Matty she needed a place to stay for the kids because sleeping in a car was not an option. The DHS caseworker referred the family to our organization, Hearts with a Mission (HWAM). The family was hesitant at first to separate but agreed that temporarily this would be a good thing.
The first day at HWAM, Tyler, her 9 year old son, was lying on the couch saying, “This feels good. And I get a bed? All to myself?” His eyes were BIG with excitement! He walked into the kitchen and was given a banana. He went on to eat three bananas. His sister Olivia, who is more cautious, was smiling while watching her brother move about the house with adventure. Olivia is not your typical teenager, nor does she seem jaded by her experiences. She has a sweet smile and such grace when talking with those around her. You wouldn’t know it by how she seamless converses with others but she is partially deaf. She wears hearing aids to assist her in charming those she speaks with.
After a few days of living at HWAM, the Egdewater Christian Fellowship found a Host Family for the siblings. Located in the same town where mom works, this Host Family was able to help sustain the familial bonds. The kids were able to see their mom on most days but now had a safe place to go and sleep at night. Edgewater continued to support the families with the help of several people coming together to sacrificial give out of their abundance.
After two months of living separated, the family was reunited as the church used its connections to get the family into a two-bedroom apartment. The family is so excited and appreciative of what they have been blessed with. Matty did her best to stay positive throughout the last three years. And she never gave up hope. I was visiting them in their living room as they unpacked the new pot and pans and other housewarming gifts. But they also found joy seeing their old toys and belongings that they had not seen in three years while they were in storage.
Do you want to know what kind of impact you can have? Look no further than this family. A mom tirelessly working hard to raise her two kids without a home. You came along and accepted and supported this family while helping them get their feet under them. Matty said, “We are so thankful for everything everyone has done for me and my family! And we’re happy that you were there for us when we needed help.”
by Frank Matz, Hearts With A Mission, Medford, OR
If you would like to submit your story to be featured on our blog, please visit Tell Your Story.