Last year, Katelyn and her children spent Christmas in a hotel. There was no brightly decorated Christmas tree or beautifully wrapped presents to speak of. Just a mom trying to survive and take care of her children.
This year, Katelyn is hopeful things will be different. Right now, she’s just extremely grateful for a safe place to stay.
“We were staying in a hotel in Murfreesboro,” said Katelyn. “I was down to my last dollar. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go.”
Like so many people experiencing homelessness, Katelyn lacked a support system or a safety net. With the cost of living skyrocketing in California, she could no longer afford to live there. She moved to Tennessee to be closer to her grandparents. Unfortunately, her family simply doesn’t have the means to help her.
As a single mom, with two school-aged children and an infant, finding a job that would allow her to support them while giving her the flexibility of caring for them proved nearly impossible. She had a part-time job for a while, but it was not enough to sustain them.
“I thought we would have to sleep in my car when someone told me about Nashville Rescue Mission,” shared Katelyn. Out of money and nearly out of gas, Katelyn recalls arriving at the Mission around 9:30 p.m. “Even though it was late, they welcomed us with open arms. Everyone was so nice, asking if we’d eaten or needed showers. I was so relieved they had a bed for us and that we could sleep in a safe place and not in my car.”
Since arriving at the Mission, Katelyn has enrolled her boys in school and found someone to watch her daughter while she looks for housing and searches for a job.
“Staying in a shelter with three kids hasn’t been easy,” said Katelyn. “They’re not used to getting up so early. But I do understand the need for a fixed schedule in this setting. It’s just hard when so many other things are unpredictable, like waiting to see a doctor. Some days it’s a challenge to be on time.”
“This year, all I want for Christmasis a safe place for my kids to sleep.”
Katelyn is all too familiar with waiting. Before she could take her ten-year-old son Joseph to the doctor, she had to wait—for approval of insurance coverage; for their medical cards to arrive; for an appointment with the doctor; and to get the medication her son needed for his medical condition. All these things take time.
Despite the challenges, Katelyn has stayed hopeful and optimistic. “My kids have enjoyed being here. They’ve made friends. They like having a place to play, outside and inside. I appreciate the support and safety this place provides. I am so thankful the Mission had room for us.”
“This year, all I want for Christmas is a safe place for my kids to sleep. It would be great if that were in an apartment or a place we can call our own, but if not that’s okay. The Mission has provided for us in ways I could not. They’re helping me get back on my feet, and I’m grateful.”
Katelyn is just one of many moms with kids you’ve helped care for this year. It’s because of friends like you this family had a safe place to sleep in their time of need. You made it possible for Katelyn to receive the compassionate care and support she needed to take care of her children and focus on getting back on her feet.