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Delores Jones and her kids

Woman raising grandkids overcomes major adversity

Added on Monday, May 8, 2017

Since fall 2015, Delores Jones of Maplewood, Minn. has suffered through more adversity than most people will in a lifetime:

  • Cancer. Doctors discovered a malignant tumor growing near her jaw. She underwent surgery and months of chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Heart problems. She battles high blood pressure and was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.
  • A house fire. The blaze destroyed her townhome and everything she owned, including her dog.

Even more astounding is that Jones, 50, endured all of these hardships while providing nearly full-time care for four of her grandchildren, one of whom is a 2-year-old girl living with epilepsy. Her 25-year-old daughter lives with her as well.

After living through so much trauma, Jones was ready to quit.

“I kind of gave up,” she confessed. “I got depressed. I was a mess.”

Then she met The Salvation Army. Through your donations, her life and her family’s well-being soon began to turn around.

Spark of hope

Not long after Jones’ home burned down, a firefighter suggested she stop by the Maplewood Salvation Army to get some help. She did so right away.

Delores Jones outside the Maplewood Salvation Army“We took her in,” said Landis Dean, a social worker at the Maplewood Salvation Army. “She had been through so much.”

Jones’ spirits lifted the moment she walked through the door. “I felt like somebody cared,” she said. “There was warmth, and there was prayer. That’s what picked me up.”

Immediately, Dean began researching housing options for the family. She also began supplying Jones and her grandkids with a steady stream of food, clothing and school supplies.

Before long, Dean and Jones had found the perfect home – a townhome in Maplewood. Jones was ecstatic.

“We have been tremendously blessed by The Salvation Army,” she said.

Little did Jones know, the blessings were not about to stop.

Long-term support

Dean also invited Jones into a Salvation Army program called Pathway of Hope – a long-term counseling program that helps families with dependent children achieve stability.

Jones and Dean began meeting every week, allowing Jones to strategize her fight back to health, happiness and productivity.

Pathway of Hope participants such as Jones set their own goals and meet regularly with Salvation Army caseworkers to stay on track. Some of the more common goals include finding a job, getting a driver’s license, developing a budget, improving health, mending relationships, and more.

Portrait of Delores JonesThese Pathway of Hope meetings worked for Jones. Today, she is stable and has her own car. She has become an advocate at a shelter for battered women, and she is studying to become an ordained minister, which she expects to complete in September 2017. She exercises every morning and has lost 30 pounds, with plans to lose 30 more.

“I work on myself daily,” Jones said. “From where I started to where I’m at now is just amazing.”

Jones especially likes the spiritual support she has received through The Salvation Army. She is a strong believer in the power of prayer.

“God has blessed me through my depression and my stress,” Jones said. “I’ve gotten better the natural and spiritual way, without relying on any pills.”

Moving forward, Jones has devoted her life to her grandson and two granddaughters, ages 8, 10 and 11, respectively. In spring 2017, she made the difficult decision to transfer custody of her 2-year-old granddaughter to the girl’s father’s family, a loving and stable household that resides in Iowa. The little girl suffers from seizures, and Jones felt she would be better off living with loved ones who have more time and resources to devote to her. A judge declared that Jones is allowed to see and talk to the girl as often as she wants.

“I’ve come a long way, and I thank God for all The Salvation Army’s help,” said Jones, adding that she is also thankful for the support her live-in daughter has provided. “My life now is about raising my grandkids and helping them toward their future. I am blessed, and there is nothing more I could ask for.”

Join the Maplewood Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community.