Tragic year leads to Pathway of Hope
Written by Julie Borgen, Twin Cities Media Relations Director for The Salvation Army Northern Division
When you meet Delores Jones (pictured), you are instantly struck by her smile, her warmth and her faith.
“I am blessed, there is nothing more I could ask for,” she said. “I love church, I love the Lord, and I believe in prayer. I just want to live my life and be a blessing to others. ”
That outlook is a true miracle, considering everything Jones has been through recently – including cancer and a house fire, all while caring for her grandchildren.
She was diagnosed with cancer just last year. She had a golfball-sized tumor removed from a gland in her face, suffering through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
“I go to rehab every month – they are working with me on my health and my blood pressure, but my hair has grown back,” Jones said with a smile.
Then, last fall, while she was in the hospital being evaluated for an irregular heartbeat, her home burned down. The blaze killed her dog and destroyed everything she and her grandchildren owned.
“I lost all my belongings – I kind of gave up,” admitted Jones, who cares for four of her five grandchildren full-time, while the fifth stays with her on weekends.
After enduring so much hardship, Jones didn’t know where to turn. Thankfully, the fire department directed her to The Salvation Army.
“We kind of adopted her here,” explained Landis Dean, a social worker at The Salvation Army in Maplewood. “We took her in. It was just one thing after another for her – it was too much.”
The staff helped Jones secure a safe place to live, and connected her with resources to help get her family back on their feet.
“Every time I came through those doors, they asked if I needed food,” said Jones, adding that The Salvation Army also provided her grandchildren with new coats and school supplies.
But it was an invitation to join a Salvation Army program called Pathway of Hope that really turned everything around for her.
“It was just a blessing and a match made in heaven,” Dean said. “We hooked her up with our Pathway of Hope program and she is one of our shining stars.”
Pathway of Hope is designed to promote self-sufficiency by providing resources and support to motivated families with dependent children. Participants set their own goals and then meet regularly with Salvation Army case workers to stay on track and get help when they need it.
“This program has benefited me 100 percent, I tell you,” Jones explained.” I really thank God for the program.”
Today, Jones says her home life is stable, she has her own car, and she is now focused on finding a steady job.
“It’s time for me to stand on my own two feet now, so the door is open for others who are in need,” she said.
She admits it isn’t always easy, but Jones says fighting her way back to health, happiness and self-sufficiency was worth it.
“I work on myself daily,” she explained. “Some days I am up and down, but I’ve come too far to give up now. I am on this Pathway of Hope, running this race, and we have been tremendously blessed by The Salvation Army.”