Nieisha and her children stopped celebrating Christmas a few years ago. It’s not that they didn’t want to have a special holiday dinner or exchange presents. It’s that they couldn’t afford to.
She was doing everything she could to just keep a roof over her children’s heads and food on the table. Then, almost overnight, they lost those things, too.
In Nieisha’s case, losing her home and the ability to feed her four children can all be tied to one day. The day she heard about COVID-19.
“I was one of the workers that was sent home. On top of being sent home, my children were sent home from school,” Nieisha emotionally remembers.
“Everything stopped. I lost my job. We wound up losing our home. The kids never went back to school.”
With no other options and no one to turn to, Nieisha and her kids were forced to move into their car.
Their little family spent two nights sleeping in the car as Nieisha searched desperately for a place to stay.
“The kids didn’t think anything until the second night in the car,” Nieisha shares.
“They asked, ‘Mommy, why aren’t we in our beds? Why are you not sleeping?’ I would lean my seat all the way back, put one of the babies on top of me and try to keep them all close. It was uncomfortable and cold. It hurt to sleep like that. We needed to find a place soon.”
Nieisha didn’t know where to go for help.
Thankfully, a friendly neighbor told her to call 211, a hotline that provides information about local services and resources.
They connected her to the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s family shelter.
“They said, ‘If you can come on down now, we will have a bed for you,’” Nieisha remembers.“Walking through those doors restored me. It was the place we needed. A place that we could really transition and change. A place that me and my kids could grow. A place where I could cry. A place where I wasn’t judged.”
Months later, Nieisha’s family was blessed again with delicious food, loving community and presents on Christmas.
“I didn’t think people cared that much or would ever give that much. It was the kind of Christmas I always wanted to give my babies,” she gratefully shares.
Since that Christmas a year ago, their lives have been completely changed. Nieisha and her kids are stable and flourishing!
They’ve moved into their own home. Nieisha is enrolled at Tacoma Community College and is working at a local nonprofit. And her kids are back in school and thriving!
“I hope that I’m an example for what the Mission can do,” Nieisha shares.
She is! And she’s an example of what the gift you give today can do for someone else.
Your gift can help make Christmas 2021 a life-changing day for someone else! And it can all start will a meal.