by Alyssa Ritchie, Center Director Anderson
As the Center Director in Anderson and Madison County, I hear the stories, tragedies, and testimonies of the clients we serve every day. It is such a privilege to be a part of an organization that pours grace, love, and compassion into every
woman, child, and family who walks through its doors …women just like Sarah*.
Late Friday afternoon, Sarah received a phone call from the local authorities requesting that she immediately come to pick up her niece and nephew. Sadly, the two toddlers had just been physically removed from their home by DCS (Department of Child Services). With very little detail, Sarah anxiously left work and hurried to pick them up. After arriving Sarah was briefed on the situation and asked to take the two toddlers directly into her custody. Sarah agreed to take the children, despite lacking the resources she needed to care for them at that time.
After arriving home with the toddlers, Sarah reached out to a trusted neighbor in hopes that she might know of some community resources that could help in this urgent situation. (The children were placed in Sarah’s care wearing nothing but the t-shirt on their backs – no diapers, no socks, and no shoes – just a t-shirt.)
Unable to meet the current needs of the two additional children financially, Sarah needed help – and fast! That Friday afternoon, I took a call from Sarah’s neighbor requesting I meet her at the Anderson Center where she could get some diapers for the two toddlers. When I arrived at the center to meet with Sarah, not only was she accompanied by her neighbor, but also with both toddlers and Sarah’s teenage son.
I wasn’t prepared for the shock of seeing these two babies dressed in nothing but a filthy t-shirt. Covered in muck and human waste, it was apparent that they had not been bathed in quite some time. It was less than 50 degrees outside and the toddlers had no coats, blankets or shoes. As long as I live I will never forget the look of shame and despair on Sarah’s face as the tears cascaded down her cheeks. What I witnessed was far beyond anything I could have imagined when I first received the call for help. I am so thankful that First Choice was here to help Sarah with diapers, toiletries, blankets and clothes, and that we were able to provide those sweet babies with books, coats and shoes! But most of all, I am grateful that your support permitted us to share about the love of Jesus Christ!
All of this was possible because of YOU! Our doors are open because you volunteer, our lights are on because you provide financial support, and our baby boutique is stocked because you donate clothes and other material items – thank you so much!
I would like to encourage you with a scripture, Luke 6:38 states “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Every person who has ever volunteered, prayed for, or supported First Choice has had a significant impact in the lives of those who are touched by this ministry.
Sarah left encouraged and empowered, and will be a blessing to those two little toddlers. She found comfort in knowing that First Choice for Women will be here to help her with grace and love.
Thank you for having the courage to change the world – one life at a time…. or 2 or even 3 lives at a time!