A Winter Coat
I never thought Elementary school students were homeless. I met my first homeless family at the elementary school where I am the Family Liaison.
Vivian, Jolene, and Marta are three names I will never forget. I got to know this family when a teacher told me that Vivian was worried about where her family was going to live.
My first meeting with mom was awkward, she did not want to be in my office. The little girls played while mom told me her family’s struggles. The family hung out after school at a park, or in the family van, until bedtime, they then went the home of her sister-in-law to sleep.
The family of five slept in the living room, once the household had gone to bed.
I left work that night with a pit in my stomach, this family broke my heart.
I gave the mother food pantry, soup kitchen and clothing resources, and helped her apply for Medicaid. The girls had never been to a dentist. I was able to get all three girls in to get their teeth cleaned and varnished with fluoride.
I went out to the playground one cold, windy day to look for another student.
I saw a little girl crouched down shivering by the fence, it was Vivian.
I asked if she needed me to take her inside to get her coat, she said “No.”
“But it is very cold,” I told her. “I don’t have a coat,” she whispered to me so her friend would not hear. I whispered to her, “Do your sisters have coats?” “No” she whispered.
I stayed with her until the whistle blew and it was time to go inside.
With funds from a generous donor, I was able to buy new coats for the girls. I picked out a bright pink, bright purple, and a plaid purple and pink coat. I called mom that afternoon and asked if she could swing by my office, I had a gift for them.
The girls eyes lit up when I handed each of them a brand new coat. They tried them on and looked fabulous!! Their mom’s eyes filled up with tears and I was fighting my own. Who knew that something so simple would make three little girls so happy. I see them almost everyday wearing those coats and even overheard Marta tell her friend,
“That is the lady who gave me this new coat”.