“This place helped me with everything,” Kim says. “People struggle with a lot of things, and everybody’s thinking ‘it’s about drugs.’ It’s not about drugs: people have depression. People have disorders. They have a lot going on with them. They need help getting out of the pit they’re in, and this is the place that can help you”—which is only possible because of you!
“I was running on the streets for a long time,” Kim says, “for, let’s say, 30 years.”
“It’s something I chose to do,” she admits, “because I was raised very well. I come from a good family . . .”
Just because you come from a good family doesn’t mean you don’t fall off the track.
Yet what pushed her down the road of addiction was as devastating as it could possibly be: “I lost my fiancé, my son’s father. He was murdered,” she shares.
“He got killed, and it turned my life upside down. I started using. I was 28. My son was four.”
Remembering the loss, she says, “It was really rough. They murdered him: it was a big deal. He still had a letter I sent him in his pocket, and it was the most hurtful thing because the investigators came to me with that letter. They took it out of his pocket: my letter with his blood on it,” Kim recalls.
“So I had a tough time and I started using, nonstop. My son went to stay with my mother. I ran to the streets, stayed out on the streets: I was doing heroin, for a long time,” she says.
“Yes, I was homeless. That was rough. It becomes dangerous, like a job you don’t want to do but you have to do.” And that job of just surviving on the streets—anywhere, any way she could—became Kim’s life. “Thirty years gone,” she says. “I’m 60 now.”
But God had plans for Kim other than losing the rest of her life to addiction and despair, and it was her now-grown son who helped her start over again at Nashville Rescue Mission.
“My son said, ‘Mommy, I’m going to take you. You want to go to this program’—a program he found after delivering a mattress to someone in the program,” Kim says.
“He said, ‘Mommy, come on,’ picked me up, and brought me here.”
The Mission saved my life, and I get a little emotional because I know where I could’ve been. I know I might’ve been dead if I didn’t come here.
Yet after all those years of experiencing homelessness and hopelessness, Kim’s first days weren’t easy. “I was coming in from the streets, so I was a little rough around the edges,” she confesses. “I was telling war stories that probably were a little scary.”
But those who welcomed her so warmly were also there with the reassurance she needed to hear: “They said my stories were no worse than anybody else’s. That’s when I knew it was time for a change”—and change she did . . .
My heart changed—everything about me changed because I started caring.
“It changed my life when I came in that door,” Kim says. “I was God’s new creation: new life!”
“I’ve been here ever since,” she states proudly, because Kim’s graduation from our comprehensive, Christ-centered Life Recovery Program was followed by her joining us on staff, cooking in our busy kitchen for hundreds more like her every day—“going on 11 years,” she says.
Her ministry extends far beyond the big plates of food she provides to those who are experiencing hunger, body and soul.
“I see myself a lot,” she explains, and, “I talk to them a lot about, ‘I’ve been through what you’re going through,’ and I tell them it takes time: it took time for me to get to where I am.”
That place and purpose she’s found here is only possible through the gifts and prayers from friends like you, providing this refuge from the hardships of hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness. And this season of thanks and giving, Kim is so grateful—
This is my family. The Mission is my family!