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Dec20WedCould we provide the woman with the help she so desperately needed on Christmas Eve? December 20, 2017 by Janice Keats
It was Christmas Eve, and we were moments away from closing our doors for the Christmas break at The Salvation Army Centre of Hope in Halifax, when Sandra appeared.
- Filed Under:
- Faith & Friends
Sandra was a single mom with a teenage son and daughter and a five-year-old son. Formerly a nurse practitioner, she’d decided to pursue a career change. Shortly after, however, she was involved in a car accident that left her partially disabled.The accident derailed her life. She could no longer work and was without a medical plan. The mortgage payments could no longer be met. The bills began to pile up and there was no money coming in. Eventually, she lost her home and even her wheelchair was confiscated.
Sandra and her children had no place to go, so she moved into her van with her youngest son.
“Where did your older two kids go?” I asked.
“They have gone to their friends’ homes until we figure something out. I didn’t know what else to do,” she replied.
Finally, a close friend reached out on her behalf and turned to the Centre of Hope to seek the help Sandra so desperately needed. I urged the friend to ask Sandra to come by the office so we could offer her support, then I called my co-workers together and explained the situation.
"That's Where I Sleep"
It wasn’t long before Sandra arrived. My colleague and I gently guided her to a private place where we could talk.
“When there’s no money for bills, there’s not much left for food and clothing,” she told us over a cup of tea.
Sandra had even contemplated suicide, but as she looked at her youngest child in the van with her, she couldn’t go through with it.
To compound matters, in a three-month period, her sister died, her sister’s husband committed suicide and her father died of a heart attack.
In short, she came to us in total despair—no money, no food, no shelter, no family, no hope.
But there was hope for Sandra. We consoled her and supported her, both practically and emotionally.
The staff prepared Christmas gifts and food parcels for the children, as well as warm clothing for the entire family. Equally important, I connected with a women’s shelter and made referrals to seek the help Sandra needed, and she agreed to seek further assistance.
As I walked her to her van, I sensed that Sandra was feeling better. I placed the items in the back of her vehicle, where I saw the makeshift bed that stretched out across its width.
“That’s where I sleep,” she smiled shyly.
“Not for long,” I assured her. “See, there is a glimmer of hope, isn’t there?” I asked gingerly.
Somehow, she was able to broaden that smile. “Yes, there is.”