Hope in a Box

young mother with child get assistance from Salvation Army in Agincourt
by Linda Leigh
Categories: Articles, Blog, Feature, Mobile, Newswire
Share:

As she sat quietly waiting for her bag of food items at The Salvation Army in Toronto’s community of Agincourt, Nicole had more than feeding her four hungry children on her mind. With a near empty bank account, she couldn’t provide winter wear for her family or afford to keep her dog. And Christmas, which was just around the corner, would be especially difficult.

“When I came to The Salvation Army I was depressed, mentally overwhelmed and just plain exhausted,” says Nicole. “My financial situation had changed drastically and I wondered how I would ever survive―then I was handed a box that changed everything.”

A Salvation Army worker had come from one of the offices, large box in tow, and passed it over to Nicole. Inside were two, brand new, snow suits.

“It had been a long time since my kids had new clothes with the tags still on,” says Nicole. “You have no idea how much that box alleviated my stress and gave me hope.“

Nicole had accepted her situation, but it was often difficult to stay positive. Before the birth of her last child, now 16 months old, she attended university and worked two jobs to provide for her family. But complications during pregnancy forced her to stay at home and, when her daughter was born with serious medical issues, Nicole quit her job and university to provide round-the-clock care.

“People’s financial situation can change in an instant,” says Leigh Rowney, Community Ministries and Development Coordinator for The Salvation Army in Agincourt.  “The Salvation Army doesn’t focus on how people got into difficulty, but how we can help them move forward.”

Nicole says when she came to The Salvation Army she was trying to feed her family on less than $100 a week. Help from the food bank allowed her to maintain other bills such as rent and heat. And a Christmas hamper and toys restored her joy when she saw smiles on her children’s faces Christmas morning.  

“My budget doesn’t allow for extras,” says Nicole. “I still use the food bank. The Salvation Army is a rock for us. When I ask for help they don’t look at me different or like I’m lazy. They make me feel good about myself. That goes a long way.”