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Image by Matt


After the death of her mother when she was a young child, Sally’s father turned to alcohol to cope. He was broken and experiencing his own trauma, and during her formative years Sally went through the trauma of growing up without a mother, watching her father be swept away in addiction, and losing the grandparents who helped raise her. 

In her adulthood she began to struggle with addiction and abusive relationships until eventually she and her four young children became homeless. She constantly prayed to God during this time, telling him she needed out of this, that her family needed stability. Eventually the abuse in her relationship became so unbearable she went to a medical center and asked for help. 

She told the staff she could not go back to her children’s father and she didn’t know what to do. How could she get a job with four young children? How could she get housing? How could she survive the brokenness in her life? She knew how bad things had gotten and she knew she needed to get herself and her life right before she could take care of her children. In one of the hardest moments of her life, she asked the hospital to call the police and put her children in protective custody. 

She remembers putting her children in the police van and promising them, “When Mama gets right, I’ll be back for you.” When she handed her son to the police she wrote down her name, her aunt’s name and phone number, and stuck them in his pocket. She told him, “You have somebody who loves you, and I will get you back. I promise."

Her son turned his face up toward hers and asked, “You promise?”

“I promise, and Mama never breaks her promises.” 

Watching the police van pull away with her children inside was like watching her heart being ripped out of her body. Medical staff asked if she was okay. She asked them, “How do you expect me to feel? I have no idea who these officers are and I just handed them my children. I handed my heart to these officers.” 

A doctor put her under suicide watch and transferred her to a hospital in Topeka the next day. She asked God during this time, “What is going on? What am I supposed to do?” 

She never heard a clear direction. Instead she kept hearing the words, “Free will.” She asked hospital staff if she was there on her own free will, and they told her yes - she was free to leave at any time. 

She left the hospital that day and found herself in a brand new city with no money, no phone, and no possessions except the clothes on her back. She had never been to Topeka and had no place to stay, no emergency contact, not even a dollar in her pocket. Totally alone and with no idea what to do next, she began to walk. It was a blazing hot summer day and eventually she had to stop to rest. She found a tree at a nursing home on 6th and Gage and sat underneath it, beginning to pray. 

Before she even opened her eyes someone stopped and asked, “Ma’am, are you okay?”

She saw an older man wearing a hat that said “US Veteran”. Having military family, she decided to trust him and told him no, she wasn’t okay. He said he was on his way to pick up his wife, and his wife had once worked at a place called Topeka Rescue Mission that helped people just like her. 

The man and his wife gave her food and the money in their pockets, then brought her to TRM. After checking in to the Hope Center she immediately called to make sure her children were safe. She talked to the investigator on her case and explained where she was and that she didn’t know what to do next. The investigator told her, “Don’t leave the Mission.” 

She didn’t want to be at TRM, but she knew she wanted to get her children back as soon as possible. Facing unbelievable uncertainty and fear, she stayed at TRM and started participating in chapel and Bible studies, eventually joining the CaRE program. She says now, “If it wasn’t for the Lord and sending those people at the right time, I don’t know what would have happened…I was so broken.” 

Through the CaRE program she was able to begin fixing the brokenness in her heart, her life and her spirit. After she graduated the program she immediately began working for TRM, taking on a second job with another organization to save as much money as possible. For months she worked every day, day in and day out, to prove she could care for her children and provide them a healthy and stable life. She joined the TRM kitchen and soon worked her way up to the position of Assistant Director of Food Services, becoming instrumental in TRM’s efforts to feed the homeless and hungry. 

Sally’s determination was so strong she was able to fix her legal issues and find a car and housing in a short amount of time. Today she is reunited with her children and has dedicated her life to helping all those who come through TRM’s doors. When asked what motivates her to keep going at TRM, Sally says: “It takes me back to being homeless with the kids. There was a soup kitchen and a place to get clothes and hygiene items. There was one lady, who was one of the workers there, who would always love on me and the kids. She was so kind and loving to me, and there were times I wasn’t kind back. I think that’s honestly what keeps me going - experiencing the love of God through someone else. It saved me. I need to share that same love with others and help save them, and help them know that they can recover, they can get back on their feet, and it’s temporary…I think that’s what really motivates me, that we deal with broken people the same as I was. TRM staff accepted me and loved on me and listened to me, and I need to do that back.”

She now has a passion for letting others know that they’re not alone. She says, “I call the TRM kitchen the Heart of the Mission, because we provide all the meals. I tell people you can help heal people or lead them to Christ through food, because everybody needs it. Any chance that I can talk to someone and minister to them, and let them know my story and how broken I was and what a bad situation I was in, if it helps them or inspires them or gives them that little bit of faith just to keep going to the next day, it’s worth it.”

This Mother’s Day we thank Sally for her incredible devotion and dedication to her children and to the heart of TRM, and we thank each of you for giving your time, energy, resources and prayers to support people like Sally every day. You are the hands and feet of Christ to let everyone who comes through TRM’s doors know they are loved, they are valued, and they have a purpose. Thank you for being a vital part of Sally’s amazing new life and the lives of so many other mothers, fathers and children at TRM! 


Proverbs 31: 25-31

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed...

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

THANK YOU Sally for the love, dedication and support you provide for your children and your TRM family! We love you!

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