Archive for homeless

Just Have Faith & Determination – Marlon’s Story of Hope

Marlon 2Marlon is no stranger to starting over in a new place. Originally from Louisiana, Marlon left for Las Vegas after Hurricane Katrina and eventually settled in Salina, KS. After a relationship turned into a bad situation, he decided it was time to move on – leaving his job, friends and coworkers to start again.

He first went to Wichita, KS but after struggling to find a job, Marlon headed for Oklahoma City after learning that it was in the top five for cities with the lowest unemployment rate.

With his savings quickly depleting, Marlon stay on the floor at an Oklahoma City shelter but he knew he needed a more stable environment in order to get back on his feet. That is when he learned of The Salvation Army.

Just five days after arriving in Oklahoma, Marlon had a bed to call his own and an army of people rooting for him. Within two weeks he had a job. Now Marlon has two jobs and feels blessed that both are such great working environments.

“None of this would have been possible without God – God first,” Marlon proudly expresses. “I have a strong belief in Him and my faith in God has gotten even stronger since I’ve been here at The Salvation Army.”

Marlon’s faith in God and his hard work have him on the fast track to be back on his feet. Working over 60 hours a week, he is already making weekly payments on new bedroom and living room furniture. He has already picked out an apartment but is waiting to save more money before signing a lease.

“I’ve got so many plans. I’ve got goals that are reachable – long-term goals that are far off but they’re also doable,” Marlon explains. “But one step at a time, slow and easy.”

In our shelter, Marlon has become a role model for others wanting to change their life. He was awarded the Shining Star award which recognizes individuals who have made great strides to improve their lives.

Marlon mentors the other residents realistically telling them that change has to happen.

“I’m no saint or nothing like that but when I do point them in the right direction, it’s up to them to do these things. I try to tell them how to present themselves. Humble yourself, you know. Those old street ways, those old attitudes you’ve got to lose that now.”

It is clear that Marlon is not going to let a bad situation that was forced on him keep him down. His constant positivity, faith and determination are an inspiration to everyone. And he knows that he is not the only one who is capable of changing his circumstances.

“I’m not the only one who can do this. Everyone else can do it too but they have to want it.”

Because of your support of The Salvation Army, Marlon’s story was made possible. If you would like to continue making a difference in the life of someone just like Marlon, click the Donate Now button above and financially support our shelter programs.

Scared & Homeless: Kelly’s Story of Hope

Kelly SouthernKelly had never experienced homelessness until last winter. Kelly and her husband originally came to Oklahoma to stay with family but when they arrived, the family was gone and the couple had no one else to turn to for help. She was scared.

On extreme winter nights, they would get a cot in our shelter at The Center of Hope. Kelly would ask the staff everyday if any beds were available and in February, the answer was finally yes.

“Our experience since we’ve been here is lovely. It’s beautiful. Everybody’s so sweet – everybody. I don’t have a problem with one single person.”

Kelly and her husband have both been able to find jobs and have been approved for an apartment. The things they placed in storage before becoming homeless will furnish their new place.

“If we get those keys, we’ll just sleep on the floor. I’m ready to go. I’ve been here since February and I didn’t think you could stay that long but it was on God’s time. We couldn’t rush Him.”

Kelly repeatedly expressed her appreciation of the staff and residents for their support and friendliness. As Kelly prepared to leave for work with her gospel music at the ready to help her stay awake, she reinforced her gratitude for the shelter, “I had the best experience.”

Because of your donations, Kelly and her husband were able to find their way back from homelessness. If you’d like to make a difference in the life of someone just like Kelly, you can:

  • Volunteer as a mentor and teach budgeting and other life skills.
  • Provide travel size containers of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap and toothpaste. Other items needed also include toothbrushes, combs and new socks. Items can be dropped off at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.
  • Click the Donate Now button above and financially support our shelter programs.

Story of Hope – Diana

Diana, left, with Lois Deberry, executive director at The Salvation Army in El Reno, sitting on the couch she received.

Diana, left, with Lois Deberry, executive director at The Salvation Army in El Reno, sitting on the couch she received.

Walking into Diana’s home, you wouldn’t know that this woman had been put out on the street with none of her belongings just a few months prior. But when Lois DeBerry, executive director at The Salvation Army in El Reno, met Diana on Christmas Eve last year, all that was in the home was the quilt Diana slept on.

After visiting with Diana, Lois leapt into action contacting The Salvation Army’s Family Stores in Oklahoma City for items for Diana’s home and on December 26, Lois delivered a bedroom suite, couch and dining room table.

“They just kept moving it in and moving it in,” Diana explained with a smile. “I couldn’t believe it because I thought I was just getting a bed frame.”

Diana is grateful and amazed by the generosity she’s received in her short time in Oklahoma. Originally from Colorado, Diana came to live with her daughter. When the arrangement dissolved, Diana moved in with someone she thought was a friend.

After witnessing abuse in the house, Diana told her friend she was looking for another place to live and that’s when she was attacked. This woman threw Diana against the wall and as she escaped to her bedroom, the woman followed her and began strangling Diana. The woman’s grip loosed only when Diana dug her nails into the woman’s arms.

Diana quickly left the house and found help at Holy Trinity Church where the Father got her a room. She visited with Turning Point on available resources and her next steps. After getting her apartment, Diana’s caseworker contacted Lois. After recovering some of her belongings and receiving the furniture from The Salvation Army, Diana’s apartment has been turned into a home.

Diana has faced many challenges since coming to Oklahoma, including losing her dog to cancer, but she hasn’t lost her joy. Working on budgeting and her finances, Diana is looking forward to the opportunity to minister to others through the greeting cards she makes for the church and friends.

“I’ve tried not to worry about anything because I know God’s going to take care of me,” she said with that same smile. “He has His hand on me.”

“This is what they do.”

Tom Philips - shelter bed (small cropped)

Each month, our board members are given the opportunity to share why they are involved at The Salvation Army. Tom Phillips recently seized the moment and told a story two business clients shared with him.

Several weeks ago I was visiting with a couple in my office when they noticed a Salvation Army plaque hanging on my wall. They remarked they recently had a very nice experience with The Salvation Army here in Oklahoma City and began to tell me their story.

 

Their daughter and future son-in-law were strolling downtown when they saw a young man pulling a suitcase down the street. She noticed that he was crying and appealed to her fiancé to stop and ask if they could help. Her fiancé was not too excited at the idea but agreed if the young man did not cross to the opposite side of the street, they’d approach him. In that same moment the young man sat down on a bench, so they walked to him and found him still weeping. They inquired if he was alright and he shared his story.

 

A year prior, the young man had come to Oklahoma City for an aunt’s funeral and decided to stay. He got a job at a factory but it didn’t go well and he was picked on by other workers. It came to a point when he got into an altercation with one of his tormentors and was fired. Since then, he had been unable to find another job and had started living on the streets with all his possessions in his suitcase because he didn’t know where to turn.

 

My clients received a call from their daughter seeking advice since they both work downtown and know the area. They discouraged their daughter from trying to take him home but put their heads together to come up with a plan. One of them thought of The Salvation Army, called and they were invited to come visit. All five came since they wanted to make sure the young man would be safe. They found themselves warmly welcomed by the receptionist who said there was a place for the young man.

 

The family left him to get settled though their daughter was still concerned about the young man’s welfare. Her father reassured her by stating, “This is what they do.” A few hours later they received a call from the young man and he told them that The Salvation Army was going to let him stay for up to two months while he looked for another job. Then he said, “You know what else? They’re nice to me here.”

 

That’s why I stay involved with the Salvation Army! I share this couple’s confidence in The Salvation Army’s knowledge and passion for meeting the needs of those who are hurting in Oklahoma City, those who have no place else to go, those who have no hope.

If you or someone you know needs a safe place to find rest, please contact us at 405-246-1080 or come to our shelter at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.

If you would like to get involved with our shelter ministry, you can:

  • Donate blankets and bath towels for our shelter guests to use during their stay.
  • Click the Donate Now above and give a financial gift to the shelter.