I thought I was living the perfect life according to society’s standards.

When my world collapsed, a friend asked if I was going to get a Salvation Army Christmas hamper. I didn’t know there was such a thing. That’s where my life with The Salvation Army in Kelowna, B.C., began.

At that time, I was married, had one child and another on the way. My husband and I ran two successful loans businesses and we owned a home. Then my marriage failed, followed by our business. I suddenly found myself couch-surfing with a little boy and soon-to-be baby. Before long, I was in line at a food bank with people I’d loaned money to not that long ago.

Meanwhile, I reached out to various agencies in an attempt to get back on my feet. I found a home through a local supportive housing organization and applied for welfare to provide for my two boys. Life was OK, but was more about surviving than living.

The Breakthrough
At Christmastime, I went to The Salvation Army and filled out a hamper application. The form asked, “Would you like to hear more about our programs?” and I checked “yes.”

That Christmas, we were provided with an entire Christmas dinner, toys and stocking stuffers. I was overwhelmed. This gesture of love gave me hope when there was none left.

In the new year, I was invited to join a year-long, single-parenting and life-skills class called Breakthrough. I thrived in this nurturing learning environment.

“I Am Truly Living”
Inspired by the support I received, I began to volunteer. I worked with other parents in the Breakthrough program, rang the bells at Christmas and assisted with the hamper program. The most special part of volunteering was watching the miracle of blessings trickle down to others as it once did for me.

When my social assistance ran out, I worked at various roles within The Salvation Army. Currently, I serve as the volunteer co-ordinator. My boys are thriving. I have a home and a partner. I am truly living.

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