“HUM Lifts You Up.”
“I remember one day, we had nowhere to go,” Katherine recalls. She and her baby boy were homeless and living on the streets of Baltimore. And they’d been riding around town on a bus all day to stay warm and safe.
“It was late and we got off the bus at the very last stop of the day,” Katherine continues. “It was 3:30 in the morning. Across the street, there was a bus bench. I laid my baby down on that thing and I slept and just waited until it was light again. At 5:30, the bus started back up again, and we got back on.”
Katherine and her son spent most nights sleeping outside, vulnerable to all kinds of danger. Most days, they would stop by a spot where they could get a quick shower. And maybe they’d find something to eat at a soup kitchen. But finding help was difficult.
“There were no centers for women and children,” Katherine says.
Eventually, her son’s father received custody of the young boy, and Katherine found herself alone on the streets, panhandling to get money for food — and her ongoing heroin addiction. For years, she struggled to make it to the next day and the next high. But not long ago, something happened that would change Katherine’s life forever. She became ill.
Sick and dehydrated, Katherine went to a local hospital to get checked. They put her into detox, and it was there that a counselor recommended she come to Helping Up Mission. Our staff was happy to pick her up and to welcome her into our women’s program.
Katherine hasn’t been the same since. She’s been clean for six months, she loves her Bible and life skills classes, and she’s reconnected with her son, now 26, and speaks with him daily.
“I had nothing when I came here,” Katherine says. “But HUM lifts you up. This place has been an answer to prayer.”
They’ve saved my life …
“Life got overwhelming after my husband died,” says Fran, a retired accountant of more than 20 years. “A doctor told me a beer at night wouldn’t hurt. It was supposed to help me relax and sleep through the night. But for me it wasn’t just one beer. I’d have another, then another.
“All of a sudden I’m drinking a six pack at night, and I don’t even know how it happened.”
For five long years, Fran struggled with her addiction. Deep down, she knew this wasn’t how she wanted to live. She also knew she couldn’t change on her own — she would need help.
“One day I woke up thinking, this is ridiculous,” Fran says. “I had to find some help somewhere, because stopping was not an option without knowing how to do it. But every program I called had no room or was just awful.”
Thankfully, Fran’s sister called Helping Up Mission to see if we might have room, and we welcomed Fran with open arms.
That first day with us was scary for Fran. She had never been in any kind of rehab program and was sure she’d never make it. But through the kindness, respect, and genuine caring of our staff, her fears were gradually replaced with hope as she worked through our Spiritual Recovery Program.
“This place is a godsend,” Fran says. “If it weren’t for the Mission, I know I’d be drunk, lying out in the gutter somewhere. But they’ve given me the information and the tools to complete the program. They’ve saved my life and they’re helping me get it back.”
Fran is deeply grateful for the care she received but is quick to note there are many other women like her who desperately need to be at HUM. “There are women out there who need to be here; they need the help,” she says.
Marsha’s Story (Extended)
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