Freezing rain had been falling for over an hour; Jodi started her engine one more time praying they could make it through the night with little or no heat. They couldn’t hang on much longer like this. She noted half a tank of gas. Stuffing her arms up in both sleeves of her hoodie to rub her arms for warmth she watched her three-year-old twins sleeping quietly under two blankets she had slipped into the trunk a week before. Scraps of candy and crackers littered the back seat and a milk container she purchased at a nearby grocery store was almost empty. Jodi checked her purse, $25.00 and some change. Three days on the road now.
Fear gripped her when she thought of their narrow escape. Her husband had once again beaten her after an argument but then he slept hard. She had a window of time. Leaving was not an easy choice. She kept hoping. For years she suffered conflicting emotions, good days, bad days, but the continued verbal, psychological, and physical abuse was unbearable. No more! She and the twins would get out of that environment. In a blur of emotion, she grabbed the keys, a diaper bag for the boys plus the two sleepy eyed babies and left. “Lord, what am I doing, Christmas is next week?! Please,” she cried out. “I do not want to take my boys into a shelter at Christmas.” She did not want to spend the holidays around strangers trying to make her happy when she was so crushed and broken. Would she ever have a warm holiday in a quiet, safe home? Being in a shelter seemed so horribly wrong at Christmas.
There are hundreds of Jodi’s out there experiencing pain on pain during the holiday season. Thankfully, shelters do offer a short-term solution, but the dream of having a home is often never realized. When women leave shelters, they may not be able to secure and maintain independent living. We would like to offer a longer-term solution to finding that “place of my own.” It is a project entitled “Housing Hope” utilizing renovated campers for women in need. Donated campers can make this a reality. For more information, email email@example.com, call 205-677-3041 or visit www.hopes-door.org.
Mother, daughter team: Founder and Exec. Dir. of Hope’s Door