Alton Salvation Army helps single mother find hope after layoff and divorce

“I had this great network of people that believed in me.”

By: Sacre Ntumba and Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

Only two years ago, Amanda McDonald felt as though she was battling for her life. She was on the verge of being homeless after a layoff, enduring the hardship of divorce and feeling rejected by many in her life. Amanda’s self esteem was at an all-time low. “I felt worthless,” McDonald says simply. Amanda recalls how she felt unable to meet the challenges put before her. She was going through a separation with her then-husband and enduring all of the legal and emotional turmoil that accompany such a separation.

As she struggled to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties, starting over in her family life and working to find a job, she became increasingly depressed and had difficulty taking the needed steps to improve her situation. When she felt she could no longer do it all on her own, she reached out for help to the Alton Salvation Army. The local community center assisted her in obtaining food and clothing for her kids, both boys who are currently five and ten years old.

To her surprise, a search for food and clothing turned into much more, because she began to receive assistance with her medical benefits, her unemployment, her kids’ activities, and a balm for her own soul as she found she had people in her corner, rooting for her success at the Alton Salvation Army. She found herself treated her with respect and love, things she had previously felt unworthy of. The support system at the Salvation Army motivated her to take the necessary steps to improve her situation, and the youth programs they had for her children helped them forget the hard times they were going through, providing them with a refuge.

The Salvation Army did more than just giving her a hand to rely on, it gave her hope; hope that would restore her spirit and make her feel like a brand new person who could achieve anything she wanted to through God. Soon after she became involved with The Salvation Army, Amanda started to look for a new job, found one, and was ultimately promoted to a managerial position. The seemingly endless blessings she saw in her life made her realize that “God never closes a door without opening another one for you,” she said, a huge smile beaming. As Amanda continued her involvement with The Salvation Army, she found herself coming alive again. “I had this great network of people that believed in me,” she recalls, and she began to take steps to address all areas of her life.

Nearly two years after the darkest period she can recall in her life, Amanda has hope. She is going back to school and plans to keep her kids in the Salvation Army’s character building programs. She volunteers her time at the community center, doing whatever she can do to help others find hope in their situations. The lesson to learn from Amanda’s story is that one can always rely on God’s mysterious, but amazing help; and all one must do to receive it, is to ask for it and accept it.

“The Bible also teaches that even while bad things are happening, good things are also trying to happen to you.” Major John R. Cheydleur

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