“I am in line for the food bank. I volunteer at a different food bank, but this one has produce. I am taking a box to a friend of mine who is a handyman. He is out of work because people are scared and don’t want him in their house. I share what I don’t use with my neighbors.
When I was 31, I had degeneration of the spine and nothing worked. I lost my job and still had to raise my 14-year-old daughter. I became a survivor. I prayed and my church got me through. I found every organization and food bank that could help us. Sometimes my daughter had to drive us. I learned about Section 8 vouchers and food stamps. I crawled to food stamps because I was so ashamed to need them. I had to take a pain pill to get out of the bed. There were months I couldn’t move my legs. It was a flareup of something pressing on the spine and I would call the ambulance to take me to the emergency room.
Six years ago, I had an experimental upper cervical adjustment. Two vertebrae were crunching my brain stem and they weren’t able to communicate. My spine was deteriorating. The adjustment worked and it took five years for my spine to heal itself. I have been on disability for 30 years but I am getting off of it. I am 60 and just got my real estate license. I went through the class and passed the national exam the first time. After 30 years of not being in a work environment, I was insecure. I took the class with people so I could get acclimated to society. There were times I wanted to run out of the room because I felt inferior and slower. I don’t tell people what I have been through and that I had been trapped inside my body for 30 years. I am signed up with a broker and learning how to do the contracts. I sit in meetings with other people and still can’t believe I am there. Thank you God that I have another chance to work. I know what it is like to worry about having a roof over your head and I want to help others find the right place for them. I see clients as helping my kids or my sister.
I am a salvager. People throw out good furniture and things on the side of the road. I sell them online and in yard sales. That is how I paid for my real estate license. I also used that money to pay the utilities for a year when a relative’s husband died or to help my daughter pay a bill. I bought the antique globe in the back of my car at the thrift store for $17 and will sell it for $200. I see a chest of drawers on the side of the road and pick them up because I know someone else needs it. I had to sell everything when I lost my job 30 years ago. I didn’t have much more than a twin mattress on the floor and a bed for my daughter. I sell the furniture for $10 or $20 and the person who buys it always says I needed this so bad. Salvaging started as a hobby for extra income, but it became a ministry. I will take what I need out of the stack, then restack it neater than it was before. If I don’t pick it up, it will be hauled off and crushed the next day.
I adopted two daughters. A 14-year-old was signed over to me by her mother, and an 11-year-old who kept wandering through my street and attached herself to me. She had no birth certificate and wasn’t in school. We were unsure who her mother really was. I taught all of my girls how to take care of themselves and they are now on their own. If God puts someone in front of me and I see a need, I am going to do the best I can to help them.”