We had such a wonderful time celebrating Jackie Avery, our Director of Development, at a “Welcome Back Tea”. We wanted to share a few of the pictures with you and hope that you will be able to attend one of our future events!
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.
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.”
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.
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 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!”
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
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.
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 email@example.com.
Raul’s Story | Reunited at Last
Raul came to the US in June of 2016. He was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Cuba and most recently in Venezuela. As the situation in Venezuela began to worsen, Raul and his family made the decision for him to move to the US to look for work, leaving his wife and 12-year-old son behind.
Raul arrived very excited about the opportunities that awaited him in the US. At 65 years old, he was looking for part-time employment to supplement his Social Security.
The road to employment was difficult and that is when we first met Raul. Although Raul was a US citizen, bi-lingual, and held a Bachelor’s Degree, he found it nearly impossible to find employment at his age.
At each visit, Jeff – Raul’s Christian HELP Care Manager – prayed for strength and courage for Raul to make it one more day. In December, Jeff provided Raul a flyer promoting the AARP Foundation Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). This program works to provide training for unemployed workers over 55 to re-enter the workforce. Raul visited and interviewed with the local office and they approved his admittance.
Raul is currently working at Salvation Army near his home and has saved enough money to bring Raul Jr. over from Venezuela. Raul Jr. has been in the US a month and is slowly gaining weight. Because of the food shortage in Venezuela, the boy was having difficulty gaining weight and focusing in school. Today, Raul Jr. is getting plenty of food, thanks to the Christian HELP pantry made possible with funding from the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund a McCormick Foundation Fund.
We are now praying that Raul’s wife will be able to join the family in the next few months!
*Alice (not her real name) graduated from Rollins College and successfully held down a job and ran her own business for many years. Alice was also bipolar and as time went by, found it difficult to navigate a successful career and side business. She eventually found herself homeless and without insurance. That is when we met her.
Alice walked into the offices of Christian HELP for the first time last November. Her hands were jittery, her eyes darted back and forth and it became apparent to her Care Manager that Alice would need more than her resume reviewed and new clothes to land a job.
Since losing her insurance, Alice was not able to get the proper medical treatment she needed. Our Care Manager referred her to one of our community partners to address this issue. Two weeks later Alice walked back into our office a completely different person. She was not only able to get back on her medication but through our collaborative partners, she was able to get a haircut and appropriate clothing for a job interview. She looked fantastic and we were thrilled!
Alice continued to meet with her Christian HELP Care Manager for the next three months and the transformation she experienced was nothing shy of a miracle. Alice not only physically began to transform, but her heart began to grow in the love and grace as she willing heard of the love of Jesus Christ.
Alice is now living with a friend and contributing to the household by supplying the food she receives from Christian HELP’s Food Pantry. She also found a job working for the Department of Economics at a local college!
What do you do when you are laid off?
I shared the answer to that question to a group of 17 adults who had just found out 15-minutes before they met me that their company was closing and their positions discontinued.
The room was full of emotion; some tears, blank stares of shock, faces of worry, and even some angry expressions. Their employer had asked me to come and share hope with their employees, as well as practical solutions, because they cared about them and felt so bad about laying them off.
I was grateful for this privilege and honored that they would ask me. I knew the message I brought from Christian HELP would be that of hope, as well as helpful.
I shared about our services; about our resume reviewing, cover letter coaching, mock interviewing, free groceries and more. I told them about how we would help them process their emotions and help them find a way up and out of their despair. Many were entry-level workers, and some had positions in sales and others in mid-level management. I assured them we could help each of them and that we customize our approach to their need. Many commented they couldn’t believe our services were free.
We also talked about good decision making and how to live until a living could be found and how to move forward and the importance of a good attitude and a strong sense of self in the process.
I invited them to drop by the office of Christian HELP or make an appt., and reassured them that we were there for them. Christians helping all people.
By the time I left, they were asking questions, making jokes and smiling. I felt blessed to be your ambassador that day
Vickie Martin, Executive Director – Christian HELP