College students never picture addiction and homelessness when they fall into a lifestyle of partying. But that is what happens to so many, like Chuck. Years later, as a homeless, single dad of three, the fun was over and Chuck was faced with the reality that he had to make a change. Thanks to the support of so many donors and volunteers, he found Orange County Rescue Mission.
“God was trying to smack some sense into me,” Chuck recalls. “I wanted to get clean, but the drugs had too much of a hold on me.” His life was in shambles. He was living with his kids at a rundown motel in a rough part of town. They barely had enough to eat. Chuck and his kids hardly ever had enough of anything.
Their story could have ended tragically. But one day, Chuck realized he had to get help. For two years he’d told himself that he could change on his own. “I finally had to surrender,” he admits. That’s when Chuck gathered up his kids and brought them with him to Orange County Rescue Mission.
“It finally felt like we were at home,” Chuck explains. “I have my kids. And they have their father back.” Chuck got the help to overcome his addictions and learn new parenting skills. His volunteer work assignment has helped him regain a new sense of functioning at a work place without the need for drugs, along with the support of his mentor, a local business man. “Like the
Bible says, I’m a brand-new creation.”
Most important to Chuck is that now his kids are safe and are doing so well. “They just get a chance to see things and do things they’d never done before. Now they’re excelling in school. I’m just so proud of them.”
Moving into the Rescue Mission changed everything for Chuck’s children. They haven’t forgotten the months they spent crammed in a tiny motel room — or the danger that lurked just outside their door. “It’s so much better now because we’re all safe,” Chuck’s youngest daughter explains.
But the safe refuge Rescue Mission supporters helped provide for them was only the beginning. Chuck’s kids have benefitted from programs like Summer to Remember, Family Camp and the Children’s Business Fair. They opened up a whole new world for the kids. The youngest tells of how she loved the Summer to Remember field trips to nearby Concordia University, where she learned about chemistry and improved her math and reading skills. She says the teachers were “helpful and caring.” They made learning fun. And, she learned to swim!
All three kids loved the horseback riding and the hikes they went on with their dad during Family Camp.
But the best thing, she says, is that they all know Jesus now, how much He loves them, and He has changed their lives.
I invite you to read more stories or watch videos about the inspiring people who have found hope and restoration at RescueMission.org.