Like so many of our homeless neighbors, Ila grew up in poverty that’s hard to imagine. Her mother worked long hours. But it was never enough.
“Sometimes we didn’t have heat in the house,” she said. “Sometimes we didn’t have lights.”
The legacy of this kind of deprivation during childhood is often dropping out of school, having children young and passing on the suffering of poverty to the next generation.
Her lifetime of struggle brought her to homelessness with her 7-year-old and a 15-year-old daughters. She choked up as she told us:
“Being homeless hurts. You have to stand outside in the rain with your children. And people are mean to you. Once they know you don’t have anywhere to stay, they won’t answer their phone. They won’t open their doors. I try to shield my children so they won’t see it.”
For shelter during the day, the little family would go to the library, or to a fast food restaurant where they sat for hours without money to eat.
Today her youngest is so happy at Raleigh Rescue Mission, where she can play, learn and have three square meals each day. Her oldest daughter has a brighter future, too.
When Ila first came to the Mission, she was really focused on getting a job. She wasn’t afraid to work. But soon she realized that, to overcome the poverty she was born into, Ila needed life skills, job skills and discipleship. She saw the opportunity she had by enrolling in our recovery program and she’ll be graduating soon!
“My relationship with God is stronger now,” Ila said with appreciation. “I read the Bible more. I listen to His voice more. My goal now is to save up money to buy a house within five years.”
God bless you for giving Ila and her family a path to a better life!