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Tue, Nov 29, 2022 at 4:15PM

Paying it forward

“We want to leave Family Renew Community better than when we got here, because we are better than when we got here.”

These words were shared by a dad who with his wife and three children are staying at Family Renew Community’s DeLand Residential Campus for families experiencing homelessness. The couple and their youngest child were among three client families who touched hearts during the 2022 annual meeting of the organization’s Board of Trustees on Nov. 17. The father has been volunteering as a handyman for the apartments in gratitude for the hand up his family is receiving.

“Family Renew has given us every everything we could ask for – and that’s hope,” the dad said. “Giving us this time just to reset and relearn all of the skills that just have been put on the side.”

Parents who are staying with their children at Family Renew’s Holly Hill Residential Campus for families experiencing homeless also spoke at the meeting, which was a luncheon at Lighthouse Christ Presbyterian Church in Ormond Beach.

Among them were a mom and dad whose housing for themselves and their three children suddenly disappeared when their landlord sold the home in which they had been living.

“We went through a lot. We lost a lot, and our kids were in the middle of it,” the mom said. She was able to use the time at Family Renew with no rent or utilities to pay to work on her lifelong earning potential. She quickly completed a nursing assistant certification, and is now working in that field as she pursues an RN degree, with sites on eventually getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

A single mom told a similar story. When she lost her housing, she also lost her ability to work from home as a customer service call taker. With no place to take shelter other than her car, she sent her four children to squeeze in with their father and his new family.

“I was separated from my kids for four months. There were times when I was ready to give up,” she recalled of her time before Family Renew Community. “I feel like not only you saved my life, you saved my kids’ life.”


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