A few months ago, my phone rang. An unfamiliar voice said, “Someone gave me your number. I don’t have money to pay my rent. Can you help me?” A “chance” meeting of two strangers at a gas station led to an unexpected phone call. “He said you may be able to help me.” I get calls like this on Fridays, when agencies are getting ready to close. The calls I classify as calls of desperation. There is no other place to call.
I drove to a low-budget motel, meeting a single mom clutching the hand of a precious 4-year old little girl. Their circumstances were bleak. The 4-year old was hungry, really hungry. The mom held change in her hand to get this little one some food. Their back story is deep, filled with hurt, despair, abandonment with no hope for a future. For the child and the mom, I took care of a few nights at the motel. Later the same day, my husband and I took them food. I gave her telephone numbers for agencies that may be able to offer assistance. It has been a rough road for the two of them.
Two months later, there is another telephone call. “We need clothing. We have jobs. Can you help?” the voice mail on my phone said. I hadn’t heard the phone ring, but my husband pointed out the missed call. A teenage cousin had moved in with the single mom. My husband and I listened to the voice mail. We were going out of town after my group meeting that morning. I asked my husband, “Can you help them?” His plans for the morning did not include helping someone in need. I called the mom, arranging for a time to meet. My husband met the young African American woman, her daughter and her cousin at a K-Mart to buy work pants and non-slip work shoes for new jobs. God’s providence gave 50% off a second pair of shoes. I wondered what the cashier might have thought as a silver-haired older gentleman purchased clothing and shoes for two young women with a 4-year old child.
A “one-stop” organization is helping the woman and her cousin. Thank God. Services are slow, but progress is in process. From what I have experienced, people in similar circumstances live minute to minute. They really don’t know what will happen next. When I arrived home after my morning meeting, my husband told me we would be taking food to them on our way out of town.
When we dropped off the food, I congratulated the 4-year old’s mom for keeping strong in her will to create a better life. I am thankful that an organization is investing time to help the woman and her cousin. The precious 4-year old will benefit from the organization’s helpful hand through helping her mom. We thank God that the two women had the initiative to seek employment.
The next time my phone rings and I hear the words, “Someone gave me your number,” I hope that I will be able to help or point the caller to a place where there is hope.
Everyone is worthy of hope and a fresh start.