Martin’s Story

I’m a hard worker and I was good at my job. Providing for my 7-year-old son Cody is why I do what I do to put a roof over his head and let him know every day that he is loved. We had a good life and I didn’t think it could fall apart so easily. Life just snowballed when I lost my job because of the pandemic. We got behind on bills, but I kept trying to get another job. Then Cody’s school closed, and I couldn’t work if I wanted to unless Cody could come with me. I tried everything to try to hang on, but I got down to $40 in my pocket, no food, no transportation, and no way to pay even a portion of the back rent that was due. I took Cody’s hand and we walked out of our house into the streets. For 10 days, we survived on that $40 and handouts. This was not the life I wanted for me and my son. We were in Chesterfield where there aren’t any shelters, so we wound up in Richmond. We bounced from one friend’s house to another, and then got lucky enough to be put up in a hotel for three weeks. From there, we were sent to The Salvation Army. The Army didn’t just give us a handout and a bed. They helped me get a job – a job that I could bring Cody with me! The Salvation Army didn’t make me feel like a failure any more. I learned that failing is when you give up, but you can’t give up. I just needed someone to help me learn how to move forward. I thank God for what The Salvation Army has done for me and my son. We now live in a two-bedroom apartment downtown, and The Army is not done with me yet. I’m in the Pathway of Hope program that’s helping us get stable and prepared for crisis before it happens. I don’t ever want my son to be without a roof over his head and a place to call home ever again. This is Hope.