Nancy and her 12-year-old daughter, Mona, lived in North Carolina with Nancy's boyfriend, Sal. Nancy and Sal had been together for several years and the three of them had just moved into an apartment together. Things seemed to be looking up until Sal became aggressive, both physically and emotionally. At first, Sal only targeted Nancy, but when Sal started targeting Mona as well, Nancy knew she had to leave to make sure that her daughter was safe. Originally from Syracuse, Nancy decided to move back in hopes of starting over with her daughter. 

It was early December when Nancy and Mona arrived back to Syracuse. Nancy tapped on the door of the one person she knew still lived here to ask them for a place to stay, but unfortunately the friend was unable to help them. It had been years since Nancy had been back to Syracuse and she no longer knew the area or its resources. She didn’t know who to call for help, she only knew that she had to keep Mona safe and warm

That night, Nancy found the safest parking lot she could, and she and Mona slept in the car, huddled together in the back seat. After two nights in the car, Nancy knew they couldn’t sustain this way of life. It wasn’t safe and the weather was getting colder. 

Nancy was in the gas station getting food for Mona when she mentioned to the cashier her situation. Afraid for Nancy and Mona, the woman at the store suggested they contact 211 for help getting into a shelter. Nancy reached out to 211, who then directed her to The Salvation Army Family Shelter. 

When The Salvation Army staff first met Nancy and Mona, they were cold, hungry and tired. They received a hot meal, a warm shower and a cozy bed. The staff worked with Nancy to connect her to a mental health provider and she and Mona are now receiving counseling. They were referred to The Salvation Army Navigators to work out their insurance transfer and are now set up with a primary medical provider. Staff also worked to help enroll Mona in school -  she now attends middle school and is doing very well. 

When you turn to The Salvation Army’s Emergency Family Shelter, you are not just receiving a roof over your head. The staff works to welcome you, seek the root of where your struggles begin and work with them to provide the resources they need in order to succeed. Whether it be a hot meal, helping to get insurance, looking for a permanent residence and of course, a warm bed, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Family Shelter is so much more than just a shelter. 

Nancy is excited about the possibilities and what lies ahead. She hopes to be working soon and has a job interview next week.  Nancy expresses her gratitude for helping her and Mona in their time of need.

Fight The Freeze

At The Salvation Army, our doors are open every day - and night - of the year. Last year the generous support of donors like you empowered The Salvation Army in Syracuse to provide 35,162 nights of shelter to women and families and 22,967 nights of shelter to runaway and homeless youth. For just $99 you can give hope to a family of four that faces not only harsh weather but an even harsher reality.

Help us Fight the Freeze


Tags: Stories from the Shield, Fight The Freeze