- republished from The Thread, Newsletter of Dorcas Ministries, September 2017
Mina had been living in the U.S. for many years, married with children. Their family didn’t have a lot of money but they scraped by on her husband’s income. She became a U.S. citizen as soon as she could. She volunteered in her children’s schools and helped them with homework. Language, cultural differences, and an abusive spouse kept her isolated. When he kicked her out of their small apartment, she had nowhere to go: little money, no care, no understanding of the social services system. Her heart was
broken and she was paralyzed by her indecision and doubt.
When Mena arrived for her Emergency Housing interview at Dorcas, she was overwhelmed, exhausted, and unable to think clearly. Her needs were great: emergency shelter and permanent housing, training to use public
transportation for work and appointments in Raleigh, legal advice, and on and on. She was so anxious and distressed that she had panic attacks. She could not focus on simple tasks or remember conversations from one day to the next. Well-meaning former neighbors and acquaintances were easily frustrated by the complexity of her situation and her emotional state. There were glimmers of hope however: she had a driver’s license, she found a job working 1 - 2 days a week, she had a little savings, she was willing to ask for help, and she was willing to work hard.
Dorcas paid for a brief stay in a motel and her Emergency Housing Case Manager coached her through finding a room to rent in walking distance from her job. And within months of direction from the Case Manager and support from those former neighbors, Mina was able to slowly make progress. She learned to use the bus to get around Cary independently. Her employer began giving her more hours. Mina’s panic attacks abated. She slept better and felt better. She began to think clearly again and regained the ability to discern her own path forward.
After several months of progress in case management, her Case Manager suggested referring her to Wheels4Hope in Raleigh. Wheels4Hope matches donated vehicles in good repair with people who are working hard to improve their lives. A car would enable Mina to find a second job or a better paying full time job. A car would simplify scheduling visits and appointments. A car would mean independence and no longer relying on the goodwill of others or the limitations of the bus system.
Mina paid the fee for the car herself with savings. She practiced driving with a friend because she hadn’t driven in ten years. She attended an orientation and learned about insurance and registration fees. On a Tuesday in September, Mina and her Dorcas Case Manager met at Wheels4Hope for her car blessing. She showed proof of insurance and signed paperwork. Mina was handed her car keys and the well - loved four - door sedan with a big white bow on the hood was hers.
This not the end of Mina’s challenges: she needs her own permanent housing for overnight visits with her children, she needs a full time job, she needs legal advice. But she is able to see a way forward and she is able to be grateful for the support of Dorcas Ministries, Wheels4Hope, and the wider community.