Hello Father Ray,
I hope you are doing well. I was one of the recipients of the $100.00 gift last Sunday. Here is the journey of that gift.
I have a 35 year old daughter that lives in Los Angeles. 3 years ago her life started to crumble. She relocated down south 8 years ago with the promise of a job. The work was sporadic, so she started working with a temp agency to supplement her income. She ended up getting hired full time by an up and coming company, working her way up to a Marketing manager within 1 year. She dedicated herself to the company, putting her personal life on hold. But after 2 ½ years of hard work, she was laid off because of cutbacks.
She would go on to apply to over 1000 jobs over the next 3 years, only receiving a couple of interviews and not one job offer. She went back to working as a temp, but traveled a long distance for each assignment most times. She hardly broke even after her expenses. Her unemployment ran out, she exhausted her savings as well as her retirement account while trying to survive. My wife and I helped her in any way we could, but it still wasn’t enough. My daughter started to cut back on her meals to save money. She lost a lot of weight and developed a severe case of acne, which was a first for her. Her confidence was shattered. When she thought things couldn’t get any worse, her friends whom she had known since grade school, started to distance themselves from her. They assumed she had a substance dependency issue, which could be no further from the truth. Instead of reaching out to her in a time of need, they all took the easy way out and deserted her. My daughter has always been in control of her life. She was the girl that all of her friends wished they could be while growing up. Life was suddenly throwing her for a loop. She always had everything going for her up until now… no money… no friends… no job… no opportunities… and physically struggling overall. She began to question who she really was and why was she on this earth.
Her Mother and I continually tried to lift her spirits. We would tell her that things will turn around and for her not to give up. There wasn’t much else we could do except to listen and console her. She was reaching her breaking point, I didn’t know how much more she could take. She started questioning if she had done something wrong in her life to cause all of this to happen to her. I tried to help her make sense of it, but she continued to sink further down. We had given her a Catholic back ground, but she hadn’t practiced it in quite some time. I treaded lightly on suggesting that maybe she should consider going back to church.
At one point she told me that she had $18.00 dollars left in her bank account after going to the .99 cent store and buying some hygiene items for the homeless that wander around her neighborhood. She decided to put together a number of small sandwich bags with toothpaste, a toothbrush, q-tips and some sanitary wipes. She kept them in her car to pass out when she saw someone in need. I asked what prompted her to do that? She said that she realized that there were people with much bigger problems than hers, who lived on the streets with nowhere to go. She felt that her focus should be more on those who are without rather than dwelling on what she didn’t have. She decided to give to others at a time when she assumed she had nothing left to offer this world. I was touched to say the least. She has always had a good heart and cares deeply about others. She also decided it was time to go back to church and attempt to restore her faith to help her get through this rough period of time.
Today, her life is slowly turning around. May of 2019 I had a co-worker who knew my daughter’s situation, reach out to me to see if she still needed work. He got her an interview down in LA, within 2 weeks and she was hired 45 days later. She now has a great job, she is putting weight back on, and overall she is heathy once again. She recognized who her friends truly are over the last 3 years and has let go of those that stepped away from her in her time of need. She continues to stay humble and reminds herself how fortunate she was to have been able to turn her life back around.
I spoke with my daughter after church, the same day I received the $100.00 gift. She mentioned that she was heading over to the .99 cent store to get more hygiene supplies. She said that since she has gone back to work, she hadn’t been as consistent with putting together the hygiene kits for the homeless. I told her about receiving a 100.00 gift from the church and that I would like to donate it to help with the costs of the hygiene supplies. After she got home from the store, she went through the receipts to see how much she spent on the hygiene items… to her surprise, she had spent exactly 100.00 dollars!
There was definitely a message in that $100.00 gift. I believe it was appropriate to donate that $100.00 to a cause that very well might have saved my daughter’s life.
A grateful parishioner