Free from Fear

Michelle stands with Salvation Army worker, Ann, in front of Salvation Army church

When Michelle fled an abusive relationship, she was pregnant with her daughter and hid in a women’s safe house for six months with her toddler son. When she moved into an apartment, she couldn’t afford food and reached out to The Salvation Army for help. “I was beaten down and looking for a place to rest my heart,” says Michelle. “The Salvation Army’s love and support showed me I could live again.”

When Michelle met her husband, the relationship developed quickly and before long the couple married. Life was good, but after the birth of their son, things changed.

“My husband had jealousy and trust issues,” says Michelle. “His actions escalated into physical violence. I was pushed, shoved and thrown to the ground for smiling at grocery store clerks. My son was beaten and bruised for soiling his diapers. I feared for our lives.”

One night, when Michelle’s husband left town for a week-long business trip, she packed her documents and a few basic items such as clothes and diapers and fled to a women’s shelter. “I was terrified,” says Michelle. “But I had to protect myself, my unborn daughter and my infant son.”

Michelle eventually left the shelter and moved into an apartment. But she didn’t make enough money to cover monthly expenses, daycare and food. That’s when she turned to The Salvation Army’s food bank in Mississauga, Ont.

“On my first visit to the food bank they said, ‘We will take care of you,’” says Michelle. “I went home that day thinking this was the best experience I’d had in years―a listening ear and kind words.”

Today, Michelle is back on her feet financially and is a volunteer at The Salvation Army’s camp for mothers and children.

“When I was in turmoil, The Salvation Army was there for me,” says Michelle. “They gave me hope when I was hopeless. When they said you are welcome here, my heart started to heal.”