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I Was A Stranger, and You Welcomed Me

“Susie” appeared on the doorstep of Our Daily Bread, our homeless outreach in Galveston, with her 3 month old child, telling the staff that she had nowhere to turn. Someone on the street had given her the name and address of Our Daily Bread and told her to go there “because they will help you.”

And this is how it happened: Susie, a 49 year old woman with a 3 month old baby came to Galveston in search of her mother. Susie’s mother had told her that things were going well in Galveston. She had settled down with a stable income and housing and invited Susie and the baby to come live with her. So Susie used most of her available funds to make the trip to Galveston with her child. When she arrived, Susie was not able to find her mother, nor did her mother return any phone calls, texts or emails. After a few days, Susie learned from friends that her mother had gone back to Chicago without telling anyone.

By this time Susie was out of money, and so it seems out of luck – no money, no food for her or her baby, no place to stay or visible means of remedying the situation. That was until a Good Samaritan she met on the street sent her to Our Daily Bread.

Angela, Jonathan and Ashley, Our Daily Bread staff members, quickly assessed the woman and determined her situation and needs to be legitimate and urgent. Susie wanted assistance getting back to her family in Chicago and until then to have food and shelter for her and her child.

The staff sprang into action and found that the next bus bound for Chicago that had available seating was in 2 days. They needed some place for Susie and the baby to stay for 2 nights, $200.00 for a bus ticket and a way for Susie to get from Galveston to Houston to catch the bus. When the staff discovered all the local shelters that they knew who would take someone with an infant were at capacity and would not take any more clients, their urgency to find a quick resolution was even greater.

They called St. Mary’s clinic to see what other resources might be available.  Dr. Popp was able to contact Casa Juan Diego who generously offered to give Susie and her baby hospitality for two nights; St. Mary’s had some “extra donations to help the poor” from which the $200.00 could be gotten. There was an urgency to buy the ticket to ensure that Susie would have a seat on the bus since the trips to Chicago were frequently sold out. The only remaining problem was transportation to Houston and the bus station. One of the staff members, Jonathan Vallery, offered to drive her and her baby from Galveston to Casa Juan Diego in Houston and ensure she would be at the bus station in 2 days.

As the staff was buying the ticket for the bus ride, they realized that a seat had opened up that very evening on the 6:30 p.m. bus. So everyone moved in to “high gear,” purchased the ticket, made sure Susie had diapers and formula for the baby and snacks for herself  and set out for Houston.

Jonathan was able to get her to the bus station on time, made sure Susie and baby were on the bus safely and on the way back to her family. Susie was extremely grateful and very amazed that total strangers would go to this much trouble to assist her in her time of distress. The staff told her that the mission of Our Daily Bread is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in whatever form that might take. She happily waved goodbye to Jonathan as she settled into the seat with her baby for their journey home. This was first time she had something to be happy about in a long time.

Susie called back to Our Daily Bread when she arrived in Chicago to thank the staff again and let them know that she and the baby had arrived safely. They were met at the bus station by Susie’s cousin, who would be supporting them as they restarted their lives.

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