Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Social worker helps woman

Donations in Action: Single mother reclaims her life

Added on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Many of the people The Salvation Army serves are in the middle of crazy, unpredictable circumstances. Their stories can be heartbreaking, uplifting and everything in between.

Here are some of their stories, submitted by Salvation Army social workers and caseworkers from across Minnesota and North Dakota. Out of respect for the people involved, we are retelling the stories without using names.

If you have ever wondered how The Salvation Army uses your donations, here are some good examples:

Mother turns life around

A young mother of two kids has made one of the biggest comebacks I have ever seen.

Two years ago, she arrived at my office in shambles. She was homeless, without a driver’s license, and addicted to meth. She enrolled in our Pathway of Hope mentoring program, determined to turn her life around.

Now, two years later, this woman has achieved all she set out to accomplish. She has found a job and put her children in daycare. She got her driver’s license back and purchased a vehicle. She enrolled in college and has found a stable housing situation. She has become a member of a local church. Perhaps most importantly, she has maintained her sobriety this entire time.

It’s stories like hers that inspire me and my Salvation Army coworkers to continue reaching out and helping those in our community who are in need.

Homeless teen perseveres

A teenage boy arrived at The Salvation Army’s youth housing facility in St. Paul, weary and exhausted from years of being homeless.

With a safe place to sleep and a consistent amount of food to eat, he quickly became motivated to succeed. He enrolled in school and studied constantly, discovering in himself a passion for technology. He got involved with extra-curricular activities, such as making podcasts and videos for a nonprofit organization.

Whenever this young man stumbled, my coworkers and I taught him about perseverance. He needed this help anytime he began to suffer from depression and anxiety due to his past experiences. It took him a few weeks, but he learned to trust the staff as we helped him learn coping skills.

It has taken this young man a while to find his footing, but he is now doing very well. He has a job, has moved into his own apartment, and is seeing a therapist to continue working on his mental health. We are proud of how far he has come.

Healthy eating

A woman came to one of our food shelves looking for healthy foods. Her doctor had told her that she needed to change her diet in order to overcome her illness. However, with her limited income and a pile of medical expenses, she could only afford to buy cheap foods from cans and packages.

Her doctor gave her the phone number to The Salvation Army. He knew our food shelf could offer her the healthy, nutritious foods she needed – such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Getting food from the Salvation Army food shelf helps me with my medical condition,” the woman told us. “It takes a lot of stress off my shoulders knowing that I can eat healthy meals now. I am so grateful for the service The Salvation Army provides to the community.”

Single mom won’t back down

Recently a single mom registered for our Pathway of Hope mentoring program. She needed somebody to walk with her through the hard times she was experiencing.

The woman had been battling breast cancer for a long while and was on a leave of absence from her job as a nursing assistant. Although she was able to take a part-time job as an accountant, she had little money to care for her daughter.

We began meeting regularly. In addition to becoming her biggest cheerleader, I offered a variety of Salvation Army services to help this woman and her daughter.

The woman was able to sign her daughter up for our after-school program, which provides free or affordable youth activities every weekday. This allowed the mother to work more hours without the burden and expense of finding childcare. I offered a number of other resources to help this woman stay on her feet.

Thankfully, the woman is now in remission, and the doctors are working on reconstruction. She continues to have a positive attitude despite her circumstances, and she absolutely will not back down. She has become an inspiration to me and everybody I work with.

Please join The Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community. Stay current on how The Salvation Army is changing lives in Minnesota and North Dakota by signing up for our e-Newsletters.