Homeless for the holidays: Woman shares her family's struggle

Homeless for the holidays: Woman shares her family's struggle

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For many, Thanksgiving is all about being home for the holidays, but for others, they don't have a home to go to.

Shelters in the area are full, leaving many to wonder where they can go. Many of these people never thought they would spend the holidays homeless.

One single mom of three is staying at the Salvation Army shelter in Jonesboro.

"I've never been homeless before, and I mean, the first day I got here I bawled my eyes out," the woman who wished to be anonymous said.

She has been staying at the shelter for two and half weeks. She asked to remain anonymous because her children sometimes get made fun of for being homeless.

"My children were, actually, kicked out on the street, and we had no choice," she said.

She explained it was hard to reach out for help, but she said she had to swallow her pride for the sake of her kids.

"When you have kids you can't be embarrassed," she said. "I will do whatever it takes to get them safe and warm and make sure they have food in their bellies."

Major Eugene Gesner, Core Officer at the Salvation Army, said he hates turning people away when the shelter is full.

"We have had calls from various sources and from people themselves looking for another place for a family," Major Gesner said.

He said every year they see a number of people who need shelter, food, and even money to help pay the heating bill. He said many factors affect families needing help including the economy and weather.

"That's the kind of thing that affects the low income and set income people," Major Gesner said. "You know you can't budget for a super cold November."

While it's not the ideal holiday season, the mother of three is looking forward to Thanksgiving.

"I don't have any family to be honest," she said. "All I have are my kids, and this is like my new family. I'm excited to be together with them and have this memory."

She said she wants people to realize that everyone goes through rough times and she is just like them.

"It does happen," she said. "It happens every day, and it doesn't make me any different."

Major Gesner said the Salvation Army is always accepting donations. Food donations to the food pantry or monetary donations are always appreciated. He said it takes a lot of money to keep the program going.

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