The Beginning of a Bright Future
Cindy arrived in Orlando with bright hopes for her three children and her career. Both were in need of a boost – her middle daughter wasn’t doing well in school and the income from Cindy’s job wasn’t stretching far enough to support the family. “I thought a big city would have more opportunities for me and better access to resources for my daughter,” remembers Cindy.
She stayed at her sister’s rental home temporarily as she looked for work and a permanent place to call home. That journey outlasted the landlord’s patience and she was soon asked to leave. Cindy can still remember packing up the car, unsure where they would go. The thought hit her like a ton of bricks: they were homeless.
She called different shelters in town and found that every single one was full. That night, the family had no choice but to sleep in the car. “I felt like such a failure as a mother that night. But I just kept praying and tried to keep myself together for the sake of my kids.”
The next day, while the kids were at school, Cindy got a call from the Orlando Union Rescue Mission: There was a spot available for them. She picked up her kids and arrived at the Mission, not knowing what awaited them. “When we saw the place, we were overjoyed! My kids were so excited. They kept asking, ‘Are we staying here? Is this a mansion?’”
Cindy and her family lived at the Mission for a year. During that time, her kids got help in school and Cindy was able to develop a strong foundation for her family. She took parenting classes, financial planning classes, and participated in a hospitality program that landed her a full-time job. That job helped her pay off her car and build up her savings. But there was one aspect of her time here that stood out: growing in her relationship with God. “[My relationship with Him] kept me encouraged and gave me hope when I felt weak and wondered if I could really do this.”
When the time came, the Mission helped Cindy’s family transition to independent living. Cindy and her case manager decided on January 2013 as the family’s goal move out date. Staff members helped her find an apartment and furnish it for free through O.U.R. Mission Bargain Store. They also gave her the moral support she needed as she stepped out on her own for the first time since moving to Orlando.
Cindy is proud to say that her children are doing well in school and the family is closer than ever before. She gets teary-eyed at the thought of how God has provided for her family through generous friends of the Mission: “Words aren’t enough to express how much I appreciate them. I had no idea there were people out there that really cared. It takes people with a big heart to do what they have done for me and my family.”