Testimonial: Finding Joy For Her Family

Self-Sufficiency Means Joy For Her Family

My Journey here in Florida began in March 2017. My boyfriend of four years had just retired from the military and decided it would be great to move here from Oklahoma, so we packed up the kids and did just that. 

As soon as we arrived, we moved into a beautiful three bedroom home in Middleburg. The neighborhood was safe, the people were friendly, everything was perfect. With a little help from Project Reach, I was able to get the kids enrolled in school Several months went by and everything was falling into place. At the end of the year, we talked about me going to work to help with expenses. What I had not known was that his income had been going to debts and other expenses I did not know about. With the shortage of money came the stress. By mid-November, the stress became too much and my boyfriend told me he was moving out the next day. Me and my five children had to find somewhere else to go.

I knew one person in Florida and she let us hang out at her home during the day and we slept in the van every night. I was running out of the little child support I received and called Project Reach to see if they could help me. I had already applied for housing assistance and had run out of options. It looked like a shelter would be our last resort.

Project Reach gave me the number for Mercy Support Services. I remember thinking “oh great, another phone number.” But I called, and left a message. Within a couple of days, Dena Collins called me back and seemed very concerned about my situation. At that very moment, I felt a ray of hope.

After gathering all of the paperwork requested, I was given a move-in date of December 18. Ms. Mary, along with the church that sponsors the apartment, found us a Christmas tree and decorations, and made sure we felt the Christmas spirit. 

In the following weeks, I began to look for work but the van died, leaving me without transportation. I was unable to get the kids to school for a few days until we could arrange for them to get on the bus. With no money to fix the van, I was beginning to lose faith. But Callie, my care coach, came over every week to make sure my faith wasn’t going anywhere!

Two months into the program, Dena suggested I go to People Ready and apply for temporary work. I was able to find a ride and started my new job two days later. When I arrived at my new job, I was offered a different position that pays more than the original one I applied for. After putting in the necessary hours and everything I had into my work performance, I was offered a permanent position.

A couple weeks after starting my job, the van was fixed with the help of United Methodist of Orange Park. Once I finally had reliable transportation and started receiving weekly checks, it was at that moment I knew God heard every cry, every prayer.

I was coming to the end of the program and began looking for an apartment. After several failed attempts, I found a place right in the heart of Orange Park. The kids and I will be moving into our house next weekend!

I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for Mercy Support Services and the opportunity I was given to get my life back in order. I see nothing but great things happening for me and my family. The kids and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. – T.T.

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