May 4, 2007

Give Homeless Mothers Something to Celebrate

Perla is an articulate, young single mom with long, dark hair and a ready smile. She works every shift she can pick up at a local security company, and spends every spare minute delighting in her 2½-year-old daughter. By all accounts, Perla is a typical mom.

Except that she’s homeless.

When family circumstances caused her to move out of her home, Perla ended up on the street and, with nowhere else to turn, applied for a room at St. Vincent de Paul Village. “When my daughter and I arrived at the Village in May 2005, I was going through postpartum depression,” Perla says. “I had never been in a shelter; I was scared and didn’t know what to expect.”

What she found was a safe environment, three nutritious meals a day, job counseling, adult education, a savings plan and reliable childcare for her daughter.

Every day, St. Vincent’s serves more than 100 mothers and up to 150 children in its East Village location. According to the latest research, families with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.

This spring, Father Joe Carroll and St. Vincent de Paul Village invite the community to join an effort to help homeless mothers provide for their children. Collection barrels will be displayed at more than 100 participating locations of CVS Pharmacy, Curves, Great Clips, and FasTracKids for contributions of new baby-care items from April 20 through May 13. All donated items will be given to mothers like Perla.

“I can never finish saying thank you to everyone,” Perla says. “Although I’ll work on Mother’s Day, it won’t matter because just having my daughter with me makes every day Mother’s Day.”

For a list of participating collection locations, please visit www.neighbor.org. To organize a drive with your group or organization, call 619.446.2702. For more information on the Mother’s Day drive or St. Vincent de Paul Village, call 1.800.HOMELESS.

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