For many families, Thanksgiving is the final stop before the holidays begin. After the last crumb of pumpkin pie is scraped up, and the turkey cools, Christmas lights start popping up across the neighborhood. The smell of pine needles and cinnamon materializes. Radio stations begin crooning carols, if they haven’t already.
The holiday season has officially taken off. For many of us, this marks a time filled with joy and family. For others, it’s a painful reminder of everything they’re missing.
Neiva remembers a time when she felt that way. “I was broken,” she recalled, “I was an angry person, a really angry person.” She ended up somewhere she never expected, homeless on the streets, sleeping in a tent with one of her four children. “[He] thought we were camping, but it was a really big struggle, I was scared.” Neiva kept a rock with her at all times, ready to protect herself and her son.
Last Christmas was different for Neiva. In our recovery program for women and children at Shepherd’s Door, Neiva and her children were surrounded by a sense of home and family. “Being at Shepherd’s door was like making up for all the Christmases I didn’t have,” Neiva said. This Christmas, they have the greatest gift she can imagine. “My kids have a life, they have a mom, and I can see that they’re happy.”
With the growth and change Neiva experienced while in the program at Shepherd’s door, she hopes to have many such Christmases to come.
This Christmas, you can help more women like Neiva find the safety, acceptance and healing they long for.
See Neiva’s video, and learn more about how you can help this holiday season, at: www.PortlandRescueMission.org/NeivaHope