Jill & Donald
Welcome your new neighbors! They’re strangers in a strange land, here seeking a better life.
“I’m sorry to bother you, ma’am, but it’s really cold out there and the baby needs to be inside somewhere.”
Jill and Donald are from a rural Kentucky community where unemployment is almost 60%. They have a lovely, lively 6-month-old daughter. Donald’s cousin encouraged the family to come here, rent a singlewide in his mobile home park, and get the job he promised them. When they got here, the singlewide was already rented and the job? Well, there never really was a job.
Donald had found enough day labor to rent a $34.95/night hotel room for a few nights. 2 days later, the hotel room went up to $69.95. A few days ago Donald found a real job, but his first paycheck doesn’t come until next Friday. The shelters are full.
Donald, Jill, and little Jenny spent the last 2 nights in their car.
Little Jenny was alert and even a bit of a flirt. She’s learned to wave and say “HI!” But her feet were bare. Her 2 blankets were snuggly but dirty. Her rattle? An inflated plastic bag. (Confiscated, of course.)
“Everybody told us Chattanooga’s a dangerous place. Lots of shootings, bad people. But we’ve only met nice people. We just want to keep to ourselves and have a chance to start over here. I can work hard,” Donald said as he stood and bounced impatient little Jenny.
They left with a week’s stay in a hotel, diapers, food, another blanket, laundry detergent, a hand-knitted hat for Jenny and most importantly, a new community. Deep bow to “that church near Silverdale” that has welcomed them in, too.
We have great hope for our new neighbors. They have the support of the Community Kitchen for a transitional solution, help from MetMin for the meantime, a faith community that’s eager to know them better, and hope for the road ahead.
A fighting chance at a second chance. Yep. That’s what MetMin is all about. Welcome home, new neighbors!