Phil’s Story

PhilPhil’s wife heard me speak somewhere and I encouraged her and her husband to come to Christian HELP for job search assistance. They did and upon their first appointment, I said hello before they were introduced to their Care Manager. Phil’s wife was outgoing and enthusiastic, but Phil, not so much. He was reserved and obviously uncomfortable.

The Care Manager met with each of them privately and the work of helping them find employment began.

A couple months later while preparing to film a client testimonial video, I heard Phil was coming to tell his story.  I admit I was surprised, but then I met Phil and understood why he had come to tell his story.

Phil had not found work yet, even though his wife had, but he was a completely different person. His attitude better, his countenance lifted and his outlook brighter.  Phil wanted to tell his story because he knew he was on his way to finding a job. He was in a better place mentally and he knew he was no longer alone in his search and didn’t need to be. There is wisdom in the counsel of others and Phil was receiving it.

On the day we shot the video, we played the song by Danny Gokey,” Comeback”, and then talked about everyone’s impending comeback, and I’m happy to report, Phil is having his! He has gotten a job, is doing good and looking forward to the future. Gone is the shame as it has been replaced by belief and victory.

And as Phil is a military veteran having served in both the Marines and the Army, we salute him and all our brave men and women that have given their service for our freedom.

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Karla | Just Dance!

KarlaSometimes when life gets tough, you’ve just got to dance. And that is exactly what Karla is doing. She isn’t dancing to forget her problems, she is dancing because she has hope for her situation.

Karla, a devoted grandmother, was left with almost nothing after her husband of many years decided to walk out.

This left Karla in a precarious situation, living on the brink of homelessness. She’d seen the Christian HELP building many times, but then one day she decided to stop by and see what we were all about. In need of a job, Karla met with one of our Care Managers who walked with her emotionally, as well as practically. They worked together to create a great resume and for Karla to practice her interviewing skills.

Karla is still in the process of putting her resume and interviewing skills to work for her, but she has a hope and a confidence she didn’t have before. She really wants to be a flight attendant and when we spoke to Karla at our recent Dinner & Dreams fundraiser she had just applied for her passport and was pumped! She had one interview left in Texas and was feeling very confident that she may get her dream job. That’s why she is able to dance as you see her in this picture.

Karla’s story, like many others, is one in progress. We are honored to be on her journey to employment with her, as well as join in with her for a fun night on the dance floor at Dinner & Dreams.

 

Meet Brittany | Program Recruitment Specialist ​

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We are excited to welcome the newest member of our team, Brittany C., as our Program Recruitment Specialist. Brittany connects people with their passions through volunteer service in many areas at Christian HELP, and she shares the variety of services and programs Christian HELP has to offer with potential clients.

She has a range of experience in program/volunteer coordination and marketing. Brittany holds three Associates degrees and is working on a BA in Philanthropy/Non-Profit Management at Rollins. She is married and the mother of two sweet little boys. She is also a Veteran of the United States Navy.

Learn 3 more things about Brittany below:

1)      Who inspires you? 

I would have to say Paul is a huge inspiration to me and many other Christians. He is a true testament to the phrase “You are not your past”.  Against all odds he left behind his sinful nature and followed Jesus, ultimately laying down his life for his beliefs.

 2)    What’s the last book that you read? 

The Circle Maker

3)      What drew you to Christian HELP?

What drew me to Christian HELP was the Mission. They have a passion for helping others succeed, physically, financially and spiritually.

 

Want to talk to Brittany about volunteer needs or client programs? Call her at 407-834-4022, ext. 224 or Brittany@christianhelp.org

 

 

 

Where Do Broken Hearts Go?

The old Whitney Houston song, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” plays in my mind as I think about a recent Christian HELP client.

*Georgia (*not her real name) walked into the Christian HELP office a broken and grieving widow.  She had recently lost her husband and needed employment.  She took a job with a Christian HELP employer partner, but then realized she was not ready to be in the work world so soon after the loss of her husband.

Georgia stopped communicating with her Christian HELP Care Manager, but we continued to seek her out, leaving messages on her phone and praying for her.

We eventually heard from Georgia. She called to let us know she is doing better and going to try working again. She thanked Christian HELP for all the support they had given her, even when she was not responding she knew we never stopped trying to reach her.

Recently, Georgia stopped by Christian HELP and we were able to ring the bell which signifies someone got a job and is on a new journey. Georgia was very emotional. She was grateful for Christian HELP’s hope – encouragement – love and prayer that we offered her.

Where Do Broken Hearts Go? The answer is Christian HELP.

Vickie

George’s Story

Ann and George (1 of 1)When the present is bright, it is easy to imagine and assume that the future will be that way too. We met George last December after his promising future came crashing down. George, originally from Illinois, had worked for the US Post Office for most of his career. He, like many Americans, lived a comfortable life – house, car, decent paying job.

Last year his world came crashing down when for unforeseeable circumstances, George lost his job. This job loss lead to several unfortunate events – his marriage crumbled and he lost both parents within two months of each other. George was broken and spiritually bankrupt.

George relocated to Florida to live with his sister and immediately began searching for a job. With no luck, he came to Christian HELP and sat down with Ann – one of our Care Managers. After meeting with Ann, it was easy to see that George was severely depressed and this was affecting his ability to find a job. George’s first assignment was to seek medical care. We referred him to Shepherd’s Hope and there he received the medical care that he so desperately need.

Ann began giving George weekly tasks to complete. Week #1 – create a resume. Week #2 – research 5 jobs in the area. What we soon realized was that George would return week after week whether he had finished his assigned tasks or not. George needed not only a job, but also a friend. He found that in Ann.

 

Last week, we found George sitting in our lobby after hours. When we asked him how we could help he said, “I’m waiting for Ann.” Once Ann’s last client left, Ann walked out of her office and that is when we snapped this precious photo of the two. “Ann, you’ve done it. You’ve helped me find a job!” We are thrilled to say that George is now working and remains connected to Christian HELP through bi-weekly meetings with Ann. “If Ann hadn’t spoken truth and love into me like she did, I wouldn’t be working today.”

Ruth’s Story

Imagine if you were one of the 60,000 people who are unemployed in Orange and Seminole County.

Now imagine you’re not only unemployed, but so is your spouse, and both of you have been since January.

What would you do, where would you go?

The above situation is not a pretend scenario, but only one of the many stories Christian HELP hears on a daily basis. I got the phone call myself and the woman on the other line said this,

“I heard you speak about how you help people find jobs. My husband and I
have been unemployed since January. We’ve lost everything. Can you help us?”

As an individual, I would’ve said regrettably, “No, I can’t, I have no means, I don’t have the resources, and I don’t have the knowhow. But because of the work done at Christian HELP, I can say,

“Yes! We can help you!”

I set an appointment for Ruth (not her real name) and her husband. They arrived in professional attire, well-kept and obviously willing and able to work. They met with their assigned Care Manager and are on their way to learning where the jobs are and how to get one. The Christian HELP food pantry is also providing groceries to them during their journey to employment.

This is one example of lives YOU change every day when YOU give to Christian HELP.

Celebrate our 25th Anniversary with us and make a gift today so we can answer, “Yes” when someone asks, “Can you help me?”

Thank you in advance for living generously and changing lives locally.

Click HERE to donate.

John’s Story

Like many of our volunteers, John is a staple and a true blessing at Christian HELP. To some he is known as the “egg man.” He has been working in the pantry and sorting fresh eggs to give to clients, among other healthy items, for over 20 years. His motto, “If I won’t eat it, I won’t give it to the clients,” has helped him remain true to the Christian HELP value of excellence in all things.

 

John Volunteer (1 of 1).jpgJohn has not only spent a big portion of his life serving others in the community, but he also spent 9 years serving our country in the Navy. However, when he was discharged he began experiencing seizures. A necessary surgery to save his life left him with some memory loss and loss of vision, but John was determined.

With physical therapy and the help of his wife, John began to recover, but he was never able to work regularly. It was during this difficult time that John began a personal relationship with Jesus, and then his entire family was baptized into a new life with Christ!

John eventually found his way to Christian HELP where he found a place to serve and like many other volunteers, be the “hands and feet” of Jesus. John chooses to focus on helping, rather than his own hurting.

“I praise God for my recovery, but I have limitations. Some days are better than others, but I praise God for the good days. I volunteer regularly at Christian HELP, and helping others helps me to be thankful every day. I am a walking miracle!”

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Christian HELP also recognizes the volunteer service to the ministry through the service of other veterans. Thank you, gentlemen!

Harry Donald Whitten, “Don Whitten” Served in the Army 1963-1967 in Germany Serving at Christian HELP since 2016

Manuel “Manny” Meregildo
Served in the Army 1976-2000 Serving at Christian HELP since 2016

19 Years and Counting

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Phyllis, our Project-Service Specialist, recently celebrated 19 years of faithful service with Christian HELP. We took a few minutes to sit with her and reflect on the almost past two decades with the ministry.

How did you first get involved with Christian HELP? I’d just moved from New York to Florida and was told about Christian HELP. They needed volunteers so I ended up volunteering

I’d just moved from New York to Florida and was told about Christian HELP. They needed volunteers so I ended up volunteering in the food pantry for 1 1⁄2 years before taking a paid position as a data entry clerk.

I’d imagine in 19 years, you’ve held a variety of positions. What is one aspect of your job that you feel has made the biggest impact?
My biggest impact has probably been working with those giving court-mandated community service hours. I get the opportunity to oversee the program and to really speak into their lives. Many of the people come to us because they have to, but then end up actually volunteering once their commitment of hours is done. It’s amazing to see the transformation that comes from serving others.

What do you wish other people knew about Christian HELP?  
That we help people find jobs. Many people believe we are just a food pantry, but we do so much more than that!
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I love to volunteer as well. I am very involved with my church and participate in many outreach efforts in the community.

Raul’s Update

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A few months ago, we met Raul – a bilingual, college-educated Puerto Rican- American citizen who had been living in Venezuela with his family. As the situation in Venezuela began to worsen, Raul decided it was time to leave the country and come to the US in search of work and a better life. He left more than South America though, he left his wife and son temporarily behind and that was just the beginning of his challenges. At 65, Raul had no idea how difficult it would be for him to find a job in North America.

In search of work in Central FL, someone tells Raul about Christian HELP where he is connected with a temporary job at the Salvation Army. After a few months of hard work and diligently saving every penny, Raul was able to afford to bring his son, Raul Jr., to the US!

This month we caught up with Raul and his joy was so infectious we thought we’d share!  Raul was offered a full-time position at the Salvation Army and his son, Raul Jr., even volunteers his time during his school vacation. Even better, Raul’s wife has now been reunited with the family and she is working on getting her driver’s license and attending English language classes. Raul Jr. made the honor roll and his father couldn’t be happier.  He loves his job and takes great pride in making the store look as pristine as possible!  And best of all, his family is with him and they are on track for the better life they came to America as citizens to pursue.

Thank you for supporting families like Raul’s and giving them a fresh start at a new life.

If you or someone you know needs help finding employment or if you would like to support families like Raul’s find employment through Christian HELP, please contact Tracie Searles at tracies@christianhelp.org.