Families come to LSA for many reasons. Homelessness, food insecurity, chronic illness, isolation and other threats to well-being lead people to seek our family support services. Each client has a unique story of courage and perseverance.
Cristian shared his moving story with guests at the 2017 Spirit of East Harlem gala. Below is the speech he shared.
When I arrived in this country, I lived in Queens with my wife and our four children. Unfortunately, my wife suffers from mental health problems. She began to abuse me verbally and physically and even threatened me. I was very afraid and left home with my children.
For 8 very difficult days we lived in a shelter in the Bronx. Then we moved into a family shelter. They gave us emergency food and other help, but in a few days the food they gave us ran out, my children were hungry, and I didn’t have work or money for food.
I spent hours thinking, crying. One day I found a paper with information about Little Sisters of the Assumption pantry. When I walked through the doors, they greeted me warmly. They made me an appointment and gave me an emergency bag of food to feed my family. I do not know if you know what that represents for a person who comes to your doors looking help. I returned to the shelter with new inspiration. On my next visit to Little Sisters, they made an appointment for me to meet with an immigration lawyer. They invited me to support groups and even gave me vouchers to buy clothes. At that moment, I felt that a great weight was lifted from me. I felt that my problems and my situation were not mine alone, that someone wanted to help me. Little Sisters helped me in so many ways, they even gave me a turkey so that I could cook my first Thanksgiving dinner for my children.
Soon I started volunteering at Little Sisters. I came to understand that the purpose of life is to serve, love and help others. I was assigned to volunteer only a few hours a week, but I felt so good about myself, that I came back every day. Eventually, I was hired and made part of this wonderful family.
Today, with much pride and on behalf of my children, I want to say THANK YOU LITTLE SISTERS FAMILY HEALTH SERVICE. My family and I will always be grateful.
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