This is a story of a family in great need and the power of love and compassion. I hope that after reading my Facebook posts below, you will consider all that you have and ask, as I did, can I help?
There are 12 beautiful angels from my list of Facebook friends that have donated through PayPal or by sending gift cards and Christmas gifts. We'd love to have more angels to help this wonderful family. Will you come on this journey with us?
Facebook - Nov 10
There is a family--mom, dad, three kids--that live out of their car in the Starbucks parking lot. Each day, mom and kids come in to freshen up and brush teeth. I've heard people say that they're rude or that they smell up the bathrooms.
This morning as I stood outside and looked up into the morning sky, the mom looked over on her way back to the car and said, "good morning."
That was the moment that everything changed. This struggling human took a moment of kindness for me. Where was my moment of kindness?
Ten minutes later, I headed outside with hot chocolate for the kids, hot coffee for the parents, and breakfast sandwiches for all. Mom's response? "You didn't have to do that!"
But, you see, I did. Because there was a time in my life when I had to depend on the kindness of friends to keep me from a life of living in my car. She told me her story of moving here from San Diego, of her husband losing his job, of eviction. They're making due and the kids are going to school every day. She's in a job help program, but...
Two moms in a Starbucks parking lot, sharing stories and tears and human experience. We shared our names and my offer to help with whatever I can. And now, I will go back to my warm home, my loving family, my sweet dog, my good job, my things, with more gratitude in my heart than I knew was possible. ❤️
Facebook - Nov 22
I told the story a few weeks back about a mom and her kids living in their car at Starbucks. Since that day, I have learned so much about the human spirit and the power of love.
Mom has a job in Tempe, but the kids go to school near the Starbucks. Each morning, they come inside to freshen up, change clothes and get ready for their days. Kids get dropped off at school, then dad drives mom to work, then spends the day looking for a job, before picking up the kids at school, then driving out to pick up mom. After that, back again to the Starbucks neighborhood for something inexpensive to eat and then, go to sleep in the car.
Mom is awaiting a house through an agency called Second Chances. Teen daughter and dad make cd's of her singing to sell for extra money. Nine year old boy likes Star Wars and six year old girl loves Barbies and sparkly purple nail polish. They all got straight As on their report cards.
I learned all this because I invited them inside to have coffee and hot chocolate with me. And because I am able, because others helped me when I needed it, I got them books, blankets, pillows and a Starbucks gift card. Mom tells me her favorite thing is having our mom conversations over our morning coffees, while the kids sit nearby, reading their books and finishing homework. No one treats them like outsiders now. They're customers, just like me. A silly card has leveled the playing field.
Yes, this family is poor and struggling, but they are not broken. They have so much love and spirit and hope that I feel ashamed of the times when I have felt defeated over some minuscule thing.
At night, I think of them before I fall asleep. I send out positive thoughts for a house and a new beginning. They are my friends now, and I want for them what I want for all of us...peace, love, health, home and happiness. ❤️
Facebook - Nov 26 - Thanksgiving
This season of thankfulness and gratitude has been very humbling for me. My adopted family...Shanita (mom), Kevin (dad), Armauni (13), Truvell (9) and Ashauni (6) have been working hard, selling Armauni's cd's and trying to scrape up enough to spend a few extra nights in a motel and have a Thanksgiving meal at Golden Corral.
When we met for coffee yesterday, I gave Shanita enough to cover the family dinner and tickets to the Musical Instrument Museum for the weekend. If you ever want to see the face of gratitude, you should meet Shanita.
She turned to the kids and said "Miss Jill is helping us have Thanksgiving at Golden Corral!" They all said thank you, but Ashauni came to hug me and said, "you should come eat with us!" I told my precious little friend that I had made other plans, but that I couldn't wait to hear all about it, and that we would all get together for a meal another time. And we will.
The power of love and compassion is endless. It changes lives. I know it has changed mine and for that, I am truly grateful. Sending out love to all of you today and every day. ❤️
Facebook - Dec 8
An update on my adopted family: Thanks to three angels in Burbank/LA, the family was able to stay in a hotel on Friday and Saturday nights.
Shanita is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. She tries to keep life as "normal" as possible for the kids, so she got a crockpot and a griddle so she can cook for the family when they can stay in a hotel.
She texted me on Saturday..."making carne asada I got on sale. Worried I'm going to set off the smoke detector...lol." She made delicious-sounding carne asada nachos. In a hotel room. She never loses her spirit or sense of humor. She cooks when she can. They watch movies on their laptop. They try to not feel homeless. She doesn't sleep much, always worried. I gave her my copy of Eat, Pray, Love. She said it makes her dream of Italy and pizza.
She is worried about Christmas. Ashauni (6) and Truvell (9) still believe in Santa. She doesn't want them to stop believing, but she also knows that food, car pmt and gas so she can keep her job are the main priorities.
I told her not to worry, that we will figure it out. I'll get some gifts of books and other fun stuff for them and wrap them and say they're from Santa. But what I don't want, what I can't let happen, is them waking up in their car on Christmas morning.
I am making calls today to local agencies to see if I can get them into a shelter. I am reaching out to see who can dog sit their sweet dog, Trouble, so they can rest easy that their baby will be ok.
And I am sending out a prayer to the universe, that this beautiful family will wake up in warm beds on Christmas morning. I know they will surround each other with love, no matter where they are. ❤️
Facebook - Dec 9
Update: The back window of the family's car won't roll up. They slept in the car last night and the temperature was in the low 40's. All of their earthly possessions are in the trunk of the car and now the trunk latch is broken. Shanita laughs when she tells me how one day, she'll write a book about this unbelievable life she is living. She barely sleeps at night, for fear someone will try to rob them or hurt them. Like any mom, she just wants to give her kids a good life. Shanita says one day, when this is all behind her, she'll have me over for dinner because she loves to cook. Always smiling. Always upbeat. Always hopeful. I tell her she inspires me. She says we inspire each other.
What a beautiful thing life is when you're eyes are opened to the opportunities to love fully, to give, to share, to experience, joy. My life is forever changed and I am humbled and grateful. ❤️
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