- Shareen’s Story
When Shareen came to Family Promise of Essex County this August, she and her children, Turrell and Virginia, were in need of stable housing that they could call home. Like so many families, their lives were upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shareen lost income and was evicted after her work hours were cut, and she couldn’t afford housing or life necessities on her own. In September, she and her children entered the FPE Shelter Program, through which they were housed in a hotel and given food gift cards, while the FPE staff provided counseling and support. We are happy to say that Shareen received the support she needed and is moving into her own fully furnished apartment. She will finally have a place to call home just in time for the holidays! Shareen feels that “God was leading me to this organization. I don’t know where me and my children would be without it.” Shareen expressed, “This is the best Christmas gift that I could give to my kids, is this home. I feel so blessed by this organization.”
- Families Making Progress: Marlesha’s Story
Marlesha Ross was working part-time at FedEx and living in Newark with her three-year-old daughter. When FedEx cut her hours, she found herself experiencing homelessness. She and her daughter bounced from shelter to shelter for months. Marlesha felt uncomfortable having her daughter stay at any of them. Then Marlesha found FPE.
FPE provided Marlesha and her daughter with emergency shelter, while also working with her to find an apartment that she could afford. Unfortunately, with a job that was cutting hours and not paying enough to cover the bills, that was a difficult task.
While in FPE’s shelter program, Marlesha’s daughter turned four years old – but a birthday party was not in the budget. FPE coordinated with St. Philomena’s Church in Livingston to fulfill the little girl’s wish – a Little Mermaid party. She was thrilled – the excitement on her face showed it all!
Just when Marlesha thought that finding more stable employment and housing wasn’t in her future, a new path opened up in front of her. FPE volunteer and Beth El Congregation member, Debra Horowitz, informed her that Audible, an Amazon company, was hiring in Newark and guided Marlesha to apply. After a series of interviews, Marlesha got the job! They offered her full-time employment, an increase in pay, and benefits that made her life much more manageable. For the first time in a quite a while, Marlesha felt excited about her future.
FPE was then able to find Marlesha and her daughter an apartment. They finally had a stable place to call home. “Every time I turn the key in that door, I feel a rush of relief,” Marlesha said with a sigh.
Marlesha credits Debra for showing up just when she was losing hope. Marlesha told us, “It speaks to the type of volunteers at FPE.” FPE and its volunteers are dedicated to supporting families during a time of crisis.
Marlesha has been winning awards for her hard work. She is now able to afford more pleasures in life, such as calling an Uber when it is raining, enrolling her daughter in a gym class, and even being able to buy something at the grocery store that is not on sale.
We wish you much success and happiness, Marlesha!
FPE extends a huge thank you to Debra Horowitz and to our many donors and volunteers who make it possible for families to change the future for their children.
Family Promise Success Stories Archive
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