Susan Gilbert with the Salvation Army recently took her mother-in-law to the emergency room at North Mississippi Medical Center. While waiting, a woman approached Susan and said, “I remember you!”
“Doing the job I do, when people say that, it’s usually either very good or very bad,” said Susan, who works in the social services division at Salvation Army. She helps people get the help they need with their basic needs, but some clients get angry with her when she insists they follow the rules put in place by the Salvation Army. So she can be understandably nervous when approached by a former client in public.
However, in this case, she had no reason to worry. The woman, whose name is Joyce, went on to explain how she knew Susan.
Over twelve years ago, Joyce moved Tupelo with her family, ready to start a new chapter of their lives. But when she arrived, she was devastated to find out that the home she had rented over the phone was not available. Her family was homeless, and Joyce had no money, no job, and no friends or family in the area. She went to the Salvation Army, where Susan was able to help her get into housing and find a job as a waitress to support her family.
In the twelve years since then, Joyce attended school to get her CNA certification and has continued to work hard and improve her life and that of her family. Now she has a great job working in the emergency department at NMMC, which put her in the right place at the right time to see Susan and thank her for the help she provided over a decade prior.
Stories like Joyce’s are exactly why we do the work we do. Without the assistance she found at the Salvation Army, Joyce would have had no place to live and been caught in a cycle of crisis with no prospects for a good life for her family. But because Susan was there to help, Joyce has made a great life for her family and is able to be self-sufficient and give back to the community by caring for others. That’s the mark of true success, and United Way is proud to be a part of making that happen. For Joyce and for others, every single day.