Brunswick, GA (July 21, 2020) – Adjusting back into society after prison is a difficult feat on its own, but the added pressures of an ongoing pandemic can make it considerably more stressful when trying to get one’s life back on track.
Victoria was one of those individuals. After serving her prison sentence of 6 years, Victoria found herself living on the streets of Brunswick, GA. For 7 months, she wandered around feeling helpless, confused, and alone – unsure of how to start rebuilding her life and make ends meet while navigating the unknown waters of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With nowhere to go and no support system to guide her, she became anxious and her future looked bleak. The daily struggle to find basic necessities became even more challenging as the pandemic caused generous city-goers to quarantine inside and food establishments to close. The fear and uncertainty of this unprecedented time added to her already stressful situation made her feel cornered and hopeless.
Just as her perseverance was about to run out, she learned of The Salvation Army of Brunswick’s new COVID-19 shelter – a shelter that was open to anyone since the pandemic had left so many homeless. This shelter in particular differed from the others, as the people it served did not need to be Salvation Army clients to stay. Victoria was immediately drawn to the shelter because of its close proximity, ease of admission, and welcoming spirit – it looked like a second chance.
The COVID-19 shelter refueled her hope, nourished her body and soul, and inspired her to continue pushing forward. After her 3-week stay there, she decided to become an official Salvation Army client and transfer to the original Salvation Army Homeless shelter in Brunswick to begin the free, 90-day program centered around self-sustainability.
Through this program, Victoria was able to secure personal shelter, take classes on budgeting and other crucial life skills, and obtain a stable job as a warehouse worker on Saint Simons Island. She successfully graduated from the shelter’s program, created a solid foundation for her life, and fostered many meaningful relationships along the way. Because of her new skill sets and support systems, she no longer feels lonely, scared, or off track.
Victoria often comes back to visit the shelter’s staff and clients – people who she now describes to be lifelong friends. In one of her most recent visits, she shared the exciting news that she had reconnected with an old friend after leaving the shelter’s program – a friend in which she had fallen in love with and decided to marry.
A stable job, happy marriage, and fulfilling life didn’t seem feasible just a few months ago for her, but with the assistance and support of The Salvation Army, Victoria has made it a reality.