Christina’s Story

"You are helping not just my family, but other families in the future."

Looking back, Christina remembers a childhood of neglect, abuse and brokenness — leaving her with painful memories and deep despair. “My stepfather was an alcoholic and very abusive,” she explains. Because of that, “I had major depression, posttraumatic stress and bad anxiety for a long time.”

Christina left home at just 16 years old. “I went on my own, but I’d lost my self-esteem. I fell into a pattern of letting everybody walk all over me, including the men I dated.” She got by for a while, but life took a bad turn when Christina faced a medical emergency during the birth of her younger daughter.

“I went through a lot when I had her. They had to do an emergency hysterectomy, and I ended up losing a kidney over it. So, mentally, emotionally, physically … I was drained.”

The hospital bills started to pile up. Then, her car broke down. As if things couldn’t get any worse, she and her children were evicted from their apartment soon after.

Homeless, weary and defeated, Christina and her kids tried living in a relative’s enclosed patio for a few months. But it was the middle of winter in the Midwest — and the living situation quickly became unsafe for her family.

“We were sleeping on a porch, it was very cold out … and I knew things had to change.”

At one of her lowest points, a friend encouraged her to contact the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. She called Joy House, our shelter for women and children, and arrived with her kids later that same day.

Here, Christina’s family received basic needs — food, shelter and clothing — and found the long-term care they needed to make a fresh start. “The classes are teaching me how to cope with past traumas,” she says. “And now, my relationship with God is a lot stronger. We have everything we need!”

Thanks to God’s grace and your kindness, Christina and her children have found stability for the first time in years. “I think this new year will bring a lot of good … New beginnings for us all!” Her daughters are flourishing in church and in school, and Christina plans to pursue a career in healthcare.

“This place has been amazing since the day I got here. Had we not come here, we wouldn’t have the tools needed to move forward in our life,” she explains. Thinking about the donors who are helping make her fresh start possible, she says, “You are helping not just my family, but other families in the future. I’m very thankful — I really am!”