Supporting those in need -- Sunshine Division
 
Friends of the Sunshine Division,
 
“In 1995 I moved to the Portland/Vancouver area with my two young girls hoping for a fresh start and a new beginning. We were doing well and staying with friends, but our lives changed dramatically after I was hurt in a car collision and my life headed into a downward spiral. I was consumed with doctor's appointments, physical therapy, trying to keep my job and care for two young children, but out of the blue we were asked to leave the home where we were staying. I did not know anyone and at this time of my life and I felt lost and hopeless.  I just wanted the pain to stop and I wanted my girls to have so much more, I felt like my life was over.
 
I lost my job because of my injuries and everything we thought was secure was gone. I did my best to hide the fact that we were homeless and living in our car.  I told my girls lies in an effort to hide our desperate situation.
 
Who would have ever thought that getting pulled over by a police officer would have been the day my life began to turn around for the better?
 
I had been driving around trying to find a new place to "camp" for the night (that is what I told my girls we were doing) when I got pulled over.  I sat in the car sobbing as the officer approached my car, because I did not have the money to pay a ticket. However, I was more fearful that the state would take my children, the only thing I had in life that meant anything to me.  This was not the case at all this is when a glimmer of hope came back into my heart.
 
The officer walked up to my car, saw the tears streaming down my face and he asked me if I was ok.  I explained my situation and without any hesitation he showed me where the North Portland Precinct was and that is when I got a box of food for my children to eat, all provided by the Sunshine Division.  My children had food again, something to fill their bellies other than the food they ate at school.  We were also referred to the Sunshine Division for clothing, toothpaste, shampoo and all the necessities that so many people take for granted.
 
I will never forget the looks on the faces of my babies when they saw that food in the car, the "new" clothes they got to wear and the happiness that filled my heart. The Sunshine Division did not treat me like I was a horrible person because I was down on my luck, nor did they judge me when I went to get food for my children, they just got us what we needed, told me to have a good day and never made me feel less than human.
 
Today I have 5 wonderful children, 2 wonderful grandchildren and I remarried in 1999 to a wonderful man. I have gone on to graduate from college, 3 times and working on my 4th, I own my own home and my children value everything they have. They help those who may be down on their luck, but they do it with pride and understanding as they have been there. After this experience we understand the importance of the Sunshine Division and their partners because we have been in the same position as so many people in society today. I was a lost, single mother doing my best and things were hard, but we made a comeback.  However, I did not do it alone.
 
I do not know where I would be if the Sunshine Division did not help us with food and clothing during our most desperate time of need. I know, for myself, the hardest step about walking through the door of the precinct the first time to get a food box was pride. I have never had that issue since, but I do know that I donate food to every food container I see, because it is the help of others that helped me find my self worth again. I would like to thank the Sunshine Division for everything that they do every day, because without them and the help of the community, so many people would not have the means to feed their families or themselves.”
 
Sincerely,
Barbara
 
Sunshine Division is a member of Local Independent Charities.