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Rescued from Crisis

Seeing a family transformed after experiencing hunger and homelessness is one of the greatest ways to know the impact your gifts and prayers have at Nashville Rescue Mission! Just ask a mom like Archangelena . . .

“My dad died in 1988 . . . after I turned four,” Archangelena says.

Soon after, “My mom died of a heart attack—at 35,” she adds, and the lifelong scars of finding herself orphaned were soon followed by more trauma. Her remaining relatives had no interest in raising her. “They started treating me horribly,” she recalls. “I was abused . . . I ended up running away . . . at eight.

If her fleeing with no one to run to and no place to go was a cry for help, it fell on unsympathetic ears. “My aunt refused to come get me from the auto body shop I ended up at,” Archangelena says. The police said, “‘Well, we’re going to have to book her as a runaway,’ to which my aunt replied, ‘I don’t care what you do with her.’”

That was my first night of foster care. I’ve been in over 25 different foster homes.

“A lot of the time, the foster parent would say, ‘We don’t want her. Get her out of here.’ No second chances, or anything like that,” Archangelena remembers.

“It was a mess growing up in the system,” Archangelena says. “I was going by two different birthdays at one time. I didn’t even know my real name. They called me ‘Archang’—they stopped at the ‘g.’”

“I was just bouncing from pillar to post,” Archangelena says, until “when you’re 18, you get kicked out of the system: My case worker came with a milk crate, dropping off all my paperwork and saying, ‘Have a nice life.’”

Against all odds, Archangelena went back to school and graduated high school at 22 . . . followed by college, jobs—and eventually, children.

Yet, as hard as she worked to get ahead for them, having a home of their own seemed an impossible dream. Until she was offered to take over a mortgage of a house that was almost paid for . . . and they left everything else behind.

Archangelena never wanted her kids to experience a fractured, dangerous childhood like she barely survived herself—or to “ever experience homelessness.”

But when the house was seized out from under them by a property company armed with a court order, “I ended up having to pack a U-Haul, pack up my kids, move out of the house, and we put everything in storage,” she says. With no home, the storage unit became their shelter.

“I made pallets on the floor for my kids—and I’d get up in the morning at 6:00 when the [office] opened. I’d clean the bathroom, and one by one the kids would go in, brush their teeth, take a little birdbath. I’d sit outside the door and iron their school uniform so they could go to school every day clean. You would never know they were sleeping in a storage unit.”

At the same time, “I picked up a part-time job at a sub shop, so when they got out of school, they’d come to my job and just sit. That’s how we were able to eat,” she recalls.

I didn’t want to ever be in this predicament again . . . and we ended up here.

“We were fortunate enough to come to Nashville Rescue Mission and actually get a bed!”

And with fall and winter just ahead, when needs like theirs are felt so deeply, she shares what it was like coming to Nashville Rescue Mission during the holidays.

“Thanksgiving was really nice. That was my first time ever experiencing something like that—a big family, yes!” she says. “And not just being served . . . random acts of kindness, like people coming up to you and not looking at you as someone at a homeless shelter, but as a person.

Even more importantly, her kids felt warm and welcomed. In fact, “They felt like they were in some fancy restaurant because it was all set up nice, with flowers on the table. My kids were really excited and were like, ‘Mom! We’ve never had this before!’”

Like so many others who’ve also not had enough to eat, safe shelter, Christ-centered services, and real hope in God . . . Archangelena and her family are seeing their lives transformed with your help. And they’re moving on to a brighter, better future!

With the help of Nashville Rescue Mission case management resources, Archangelena and her children transitioned out of the Mission and secured a stable and safe place to live of their own!

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