Maria grew up in a small town in Honduras. “My mother gave me up to my grandmother and my grandmother raised me.” Maria moved to the U.S. when she was 27 years old and has been living here for the past 13 years.
She was getting by working as a dishwasher and preparing food at a chain restaurant. Balancing work and raising five children was hard, but bearable. It was the abuse from her husband that she couldn’t take any longer. Last year, Maria gathered up her children and what few belongings they had and left.
“When I left, I moved in with my brother and I would pay him $400 a month. While I was living with my brother there was an open DCF (Department of Children and Families) case because there were 15 people living in his two bedroom apartment. Either he would have to leave with his family or I would have to leave with my family. I didn’t want him to lose his apartment, so I took my kids and left,” said Maria.
She ended up staying at different friends’ houses before arriving at the mission. “My idea of a shelter was that it was a really bad place and there were abusive people and I didn’t want that for me and my children. I have seen a lot of abuse in my life and I was very worried. So I asked God to protect me and my family,” she recalled.
Maria was exhausted from looking for a place to stay each night, so she decided to give the mission a try. “When I came to the mission, I thought it was a church because I saw a cross at the top of the building. The cross gave me hope,” says Maria. “I felt good when I came here. I knew it wasn’t for the long term, but at least I had a peace that my kids could stretch their legs and relax for a bit.”
With her kids settling in at the mission, Maria is focusing her attention on finding housing and a job that can support her family. “It’s not that I couldn’t work to support my family. It’s just that every place I would apply for would ask for double the rent. It was way too much money than what I could afford. Those are my barriers.” But Maria remains hopeful. “Despite the problems I have faced, God hasn’t let me down.”
Her children have adjusted well to their new living situation. “They love it here,” says Maria. “My youngest boy wants to stay longer. He said he would work extra hard to get more time to stay here. He is ten years old.”
Despite all the hardships and setbacks Maria has experienced this past year, she remains profoundly grateful for all help she has received at the mission. “The staff at the mission respects me and trusts me. They love my children. Despite the feeling that I am nothing, the staff has told me that I am important.”
There are many who have helped Maria and her children that she will never meet. Your gifts and prayers have provided this place of refuge for Maria’s family and other families that are experiencing homelessness. “Thank you so much for all you have done. Even though you don’t know me, you have given money to the mission to help me. It’s something I wish I could do to others,” Maria said.