Alexandra and her kids got a second chance because you cared
“When Alexandra left prison 15 years ago, she wanted a second chance. She wanted someone to believe in her again. She wanted to believe in herself again—but what hope did she have?
“I was a single mom with four young kids,” she explains. “I struggled with a drug addiction for 12 years. My whole life was built on lies, and now I had a prison record for shoplifting and no home of my own. How do I rebuild my life?” Her life had been spiraling out of control ever since her mother died when Alexandra was 16. Soon after, she fell into an abusive relationship with a man who introduced her to drugs.
“At times, I hoped I’d die. My kids deserved so much better than me. But I couldn’t stop.”
“I was smoking marijuana mixed with crack every day. It’s all that mattered. It got so bad, I couldn’t work anymore. I turned to shoplifting to support my habit. By the time I was 30, I had four kids who needed me. But I couldn’t stop. I hated myself. At times, I hoped I’d die. My kids deserved so much better than me. But I couldn’t stop.”
When Alexandra went to prison in 2004, she finally turned her life over to God. When she left in 2005, she says God intervened and led her to Union Rescue Mission.
“They taught me how to write a résumé, how to interview, and how to dress appropriately,” she says. “They made me believe in second chances and even helped connect me to potential employers willing to give people like me a new start. Little did I know it would be Union Rescue Mission who’d hire me, and I’ve been here ever since. It’s such an honor to give back and support this organization I love so much!”
Today, Alexandra works as the Special Events Coordinator for Union Rescue Mission. Yet she quickly explains that URM means far more than a job to her. It’s where she grew up in the Lord. It’s where she met her future husband and where Rev. Andy Bales officiated their wedding. It’s where people pray and care for her—it’s where she found a family.
Alexandra concludes, “When I first came to Union Rescue Mission, I didn’t think God—or anyone—could love me anymore. But this Mission, and the donors who support it, showed me what love really is.
They gave me confidence when I didn’t have any left. They gave me a second chance when I didn’t deserve one. They believed in me, supported me, and equipped me to live a brand-new life. And that means everything.”
Thank you for giving Alexandra and her children a second chance at life.
Help transform the lives of more neighbors devastated by homelessness!
The Number of Women and Children on the Streets Is Growing . . . and They Face Unique Challenges
You may find this shocking, but single women and mothers with children are the fastest-growing demographic affected by homelessness in the United States. Most are fleeing domestic violence. As you can imagine, these precious women face some unique challenges while experiencing homelessness.
1. Lack of safety and security
Women on the streets face the constant threat of sexual assault and physical violence.
2. Deteriorating maternal health
Women experiencing homelessness lack preventive care such as prenatal care, mammograms, and other tests. As a result, there is a much higher rate of abortions, abnormalities, and tragic birth outcomes.
3. Limited access to feminine hygiene products
Women who live on limited incomes often have to choose between buying food and buying hygiene products, which can seriously affect their health and dignity.
4. More difficulty finding work
Many women and mothers seeking work lack work experience or have low education levels, a criminal record, a physical disability, language barriers, housing instability, and mental health challenges.
5. Mental health issues
About 75% of women on the streets struggle with mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia—and because they do not receive the care they need, their condition often worsens.
Your Compassion Reaches Vulnerable Women and Children with Help and Hope
Thanks to your generous partnership, Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens provide a life-changing refuge to desperate women. Your gifts help provide:
Safe shelter day and night
Personal hygiene products
Health and dental care and mental health services
Financial and job training
Assistance in finding employment, housing, government aid, and recovery services
Spiritual encouragement and nurture
Because of caring friends like you, women and children devastated by homelessness receive the critical assistance they need to recover. Thank you!
When 12-year-old Jaime first came to Hope Gardens with his mother, brother, and sister, he was shy and withdrawn, and he struggled in school. But staff soon discovered that Jaime had an extraordinary gift: drawing.
In fact, his drawings were so profound, he began selling them, saving the money he earned to purchase Legos® or other items. As his self-esteem grew, Jaime came out of his shell, making new friends and dreaming of a better future—perhaps even as an artist!
“My hope for Jaime is that he continues to expand on his passions and his abilities,” says Geoff, the Youth Program Manager at Hope Gardens. “He’s so smart, gifted, and capable. Whatever he sets his mind to, he can accomplish. Jaime’s potential is limitless.”
Thank you for supporting the remarkable kids at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens!
Discover more about Jaime and his remarkable artistic talent. He is just one of many children at URM and Hope Gardens who are impacted by your gift. Go to urm.org/stories.
With Your Support, We’ll Never Turn a Woman or a Child Away. Please Give.
It’s unthinkable—and immoral. Single women, mothers, and children are falling into homelessness faster than any other group in America. Homelessness is tragic for anyone, but NO woman or child should ever have to suffer on the streets.
Union Rescue Mission has never turned away a woman or child who needed our help. With your continued support, we never will. Union Rescue Mission will always provide them with safe shelter, nutritious food, emotional and spiritual support, and the REAL long-term support they need to rise out of homelessness and thrive once more.
Yet it will only be possible with the help of compassionate friends and partners like you. As a privately funded organization, we receive no financial support from the government.
So please give today. Men, women, children, and families— all those devastated by homelessness, whom we serve—are depending on you.
Someone needs a miracle that God can use YOU to give.
YOU Help Children Thrive at Hope Gardens
Children devastated by homelessness are often scarred for a lifetime.
It can devastate their self-esteem, hurt their education, and threaten their health—but not at Hope Gardens. At Hope Gardens—thanks to you—children experience the safety, love, and support they need to develop and mature. It’s where they can learn in a supportive environment and play without distractions or any outside threats.
Thank you for being a friend to the children of Hope Gardens.
NOTES FROM ANDY
Hope for Women
Alexandra, in this issue of The Mission, is a very special lady. When I first met her 15 years ago, she was hurt and traumatized in so many ways. After losing her mother, she struggled with addiction, abusive relationships, overwhelming guilt over what she put her kids through, and prison . . .
Today, however, Alexandra has grown so much, and I’m so proud of her. She’s built a brand-new life for herself and her family, through the power of Christ, her own hard work, and your support for Union Rescue Mission. She is a model of what we hope for every woman who comes to us seeking help.
In fact, more women like Alexandra come to us every day. There are tens of thousands of women like Alexandra, right now, who are devastated by homelessness and traumatized on the streets. They’re victims of fear, predators, indescribable abuse, mental health issues, addiction, and paralyzing guilt.
That’s why your support for Union Rescue Mission is so crucial for these precious women. You provide them with safety, shelter, food, spiritual comfort, physical and emotional healing, and hope for new life built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. They are so blessed to call you a friend and a partner. So, on their behalf, thank you!