Some time ago a Sister from St. Francis came to The Franciscan Center and met with Judy, the director of Responsive Services. The tiny woman held a crisp white envelope out for Judy. On the front, in small shaky block letting it said, "For a mother with child/children."
Tucked inside was fifty dollars. A heartfelt gift, for someone to come. Judy took the envelope and placed it into her desk, and into the back of her mind. Saving the envelope for just the right moment.
Months later a woman entered the center, and found herself sitting at Judy's desk, answering questions from the Social Worker. "What is it that you need?" asked Judy.
The woman's only request was for help paying for a Maryland ID. The Responsive Services had a few funds to help her with her only expressed need. It was when Judy looked into her eyes and listened to her tell her story, that she learned of the woman's true needs.
She and her two small children had just moved to Baltimore from Virginia, they were barely making ends meet. Her only income, a small disability benefit for one of the little girls. Emotion rose in her face as she explained that rent eats up most of those funds. When Judy asked why the mother hadn't found work she went on to explain that she has a LPN license in the state of Virginia, but it doesn't transfer to Maryland, and thus isn't able to find work in her new home.
Judy looked across her desk at this mother, trying so diligently to take care of her little ones. Striving to build a life in our city: trying to live with dignity. And she asked the question, "How much does it cost to get your license here?" The mother told her it was only a hundred dollars, but that she just couldn't afford it.
And that is when the moment arrived.
She reached into her desk and pulled out the crisp envelope with block lettering. Leaning slightly over the desk Judy explained to the mother that she had $50.00 dollars to get her started, and that with another $50.00 from The Franciscan Center's Emergency Services Funds, we would be able to help her get her Maryland nursing license.
The mother's eyes welled up with tears, as she looked at the funds that would help her on her way to a self-sufficient life. One where she could take care of her two children. She hugged Judy, wrapping her arms around the woman that had a white envelope of hope.
That small heartfelt gift changed a family. It is the gifts small and large, and the love with which we give them, that enables The Franciscan Center to impact the lives within our community. And, it is the genuine care, that you find in the Social Workers, Volunteers, and Staff that make this place like no other.
Written by: Heather L. Newman
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