“I am not who I used to be”

1014_WMM_NL_02Wanda came from an alcoholic home and began drinking in her teens — abuse that escalated through the years, finally leaving her homeless.

I moved from house to house, couch to couch…I slept in alleys,” she says. “I didn’t know what I was looking for in life.”

Finally, Wanda’s sister-in-law helped her find Wheeler Mission’s Center for Women & Children. “I came here, praying they would let me in,” she says. “They gave me a bed and my own blankets, which I hadn’t had in years.”

Wanda was placed in our Connect to Care program, where she has received medical, dental and vision care.

My weight has gone down immensely. That was all water from my heart. I didn’t know I had heart problems. I also got glasses, and I’m getting my teeth fixed,” she says. “Every morning, I feel like saying, ‘Thank you, God, for waking me up.’”

Meanwhile, Wanda has received counseling for painful emotional issues. “I would pass a mirror and wouldn’t look because I hated what I saw,” she says. “Now when I look in the mirror, I don’t hate myself.”

Wanda has also grown spiritually during her time here. “The Mission gave me a Bible and I read it all the time,” she says. “I go to church every Sunday and enjoy it. It makes you want to go out and give the Word to other people.”

Wanda hopes to find work cooking for those in need. In the meantime, she cooks in the Mission’s kitchen. “I’m doing the kind of work I want to do when I get out in the world again,” she says. “I give them my heart, a smile and my food.”

Wanda’s heart was broken when she came to Center for Women & Children, but the love of our staff and others in the program has helped heal and transform her. “I am not who I used to be,” she says. “Wheeler Mission has given me a lot of my heart back.”

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