A few years ago, Mari and her husband were living in a tent on the side of the hill right across from the main entrance of the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

They would come to us for meals, to take hot showers and to simply to be treated like regular people.  

“There’s so many different reasons why people are homeless,” she says. “Their stories tell us why this is such an overwhelming problem. I don’t like using the word epidemic, but it’s like an epidemic.” 

The reason Mari was homeless was because of addiction.

“When we first started doing drugs, we did it because we thought it was fun,” she says. “Then it wasn’t fun anymore. So we had to make a decision. We had to ask ourselves: are we gonna die this way?”

Mari and her husband didn’t want to die. They didn’t want to stay trapped in their addiction. That’s why they started using services here at the Mission. And one Thanksgiving, everything clicked into place.   

A Small Act of Kindness

“We were having dinner,” she remembers. “This lady came up to me and she gave me an Indian turquoise type bracelet. I was overwhelmed with emotion when she gave it to me. I asked if she was sure. She said, ‘Absolutely. I hope it brings you luck.’ After that, things just started happening.”

Of course, the bracelet wasn’t magic. But being treated with such kindness helped inspire Mari to get more connected to the Mission.

She and her husband were able to find housing and get help with income as they rebuilt their lives. 

A New Life

“We’re not on assistance anymore,” Mari says. “I was able to call them up and say I didn’t need that income support anymore. And I’m actually looking forward to getting off housing assistance as well. I want to open that space up for somebody that really needs it.”

Mari knows there a lot of people in need right now.

“From the time that I became housed until now, the size of homelessness has almost tripled,” she says.

Mari is determined to help do whatever she can to help others find the same stability she did. She spends time volunteering at the Mission because she knows that small acts of kindness make a big impact.

“I have this overactive need to be a part of this,” she says. “This is where I need to be. This is the path that He’s chosen for me. And I couldn’t be happier than to be a part of that.”