Miles to go for Hope
Miles to go for Hope
With sweat dripping down their weary bodies and carrying with them their only possessions, Alesha Bridgeman and her three small children walked miles through the blazing Florida heat to find shelter at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission – their last hope. All the while Alesha wondered how she could have gotten to this point.
Alesha had worked hard since she was 16 years old and had never been in any financial trouble. She married young and by the time she was 21, she and her husband had three beautiful children and were living in the suburbs of Chicago. “Everything was perfect,” Alesha says as she describes her past. Both Alesha and her husband had steady jobs and their children were well taken care of.
But shortly after the birth of their youngest child, things began to spiral downward. Alesha’s husband was laid off from his job and not long after, Alesha was also laid off from hers. This led to constant fighting about finances and things eventually became unbearable. “Financial stress put a huge strain on our relationship,” Alesha sadly recalls. After months of trying to work through this crisis, the marriage soon became a casualty of their financial struggles and Alesha found herself with nowhere to turn.
Having family in Florida, Alesha decided to take her life savings and move herself and her 3 children down south. They moved into their new home and initially everything seemed to be going well. However, after getting settled in, things rapidly became harder than anticipated. Work became difficult to find and having three small children at home and no childcare also made finding a full time job nearly impossible. Alesha’s savings quickly began to run out and she was eventually left with nothing. She had no money to buy even simple necessities. “I had to skip meals in order for my kids to eat, I had no detergent to wash clothes, I ran out of diapers and my son had to go without diapers for days – It was the worst feeling in the world,” Alesha says. Sadly, things only became worse.
Having nothing left, she was soon also faced with eviction. Her only option left was to sleep on the floor of a family member’s one-bedroom house with her three children. But the cramped living situation soon became too much to bear and Alesha was told she needed to find other living arrangements. Determined not to let her children sleep on the streets Alesha gathered up all they had left and she and her family walked down the streets of Orlando to get to their new home – the Orlando Union Rescue Mission.
The first night at the Mission was the best night of sleep Alesha and her children had experienced in months. “After sleeping on the floor for so long we really just appreciated having a bed that night,” says Alesha. There have been a lot of changes in their family since coming to the Mission. “I’m not as bitter as I was before coming here and my relationship with God has improved,” she says. Her three children have adjusted well and Alesha now has hope and a new sense of security knowing that while at the Mission, her needs are being provided and she is able to focus on rebuilding a great life for her and her family.