What do you do when you are terrified?
Regina came to The Cooperative Ministry homeless and separated from her four daughters who were scattered among different relatives. She did not choose to live three excruciating years as a homeless person, frequently spending days and nights on the streets of Columbia.
While homeless, Regina had a full-time job paying $9 per hour yet was unable to meet her obligations for housing, electricity, and food. A month before she came to see me, she landed a job paying $15 per hour and, as a testament to her character, gave a “required two-week notice” before taking the new job.
Regina also skipped meals, skimped, and saved enough for a deposit on a modest apartment and was so close to reuniting her family under one roof. Then came the bad news. Regina owed more than one thousand dollars in unpaid electric bills – all of which had to be paid before she could move into the new apartment.
She was visibly shaking when she came to see me at The Cooperative Ministry. Appealing to other agencies, she had been turned down for assistance. She was terrified that we were going to do the same thing and crush her dreams. Her voice trembled, and tears washed her face when she said, “Please help.”
Working together, we tried over and over to find a program that would meet her needs, and each time I had to say, “That one won’t work.” Each time that I sighed with disappointment, Regina shook, and tears flowed. I tried my best to reassure her with a simple, “I know.”
Almost out of options, I found a solution that would let me turn on her lights in the new apartment. She sat in the chair and said, “Give me a minute. I don’t have the strength to stand up right now.” We waited as she quietly processed the hope – the light into darkness. Before she stood, she said, “Every morning and every night for the past month, I have prayed for this miracle. God bless you.”
To those who support us directly or indirectly, those words are for you: “God bless you.”
~ By Bill Taber, Director, Crisis Assistance