Margie has done a lot of things in her life. She’s worked in construction, at restaurants, as a bartender, in retail, and as an assistant in a nursing home. But what she’s most proud of is helping raise her grandson since he was just three months old.

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She also suffers from fibromyalgia, severe arthritis, degenerative discs, osteoporosis, and pain from torn muscles in her back and neck. Needless to say, she wasn’t able to help her husband provide for both her and their teenage grandson when finances got tight.

Her husband was able to care for their grandson alone, but he wasn’t able to financially support both of them at the same time. Eventually, she moved in with her daughter and son-in-law in order to ease the tension on her marriage and their bank account. For several months, she lived on and off with them until a disagreement caused her to leave—this time for good.

But Margie couldn’t return home to be a burden on her family. “My husband is doing the best he can with what he has,” she says. “He’s a wonderful man. It’s just the circumstances.”

This time, she had nowhere to go. “I looked into Loveland, Longmont, Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins,” she says. “Estes Park doesn’t have anything to help people who are homeless, and there’s nothing in Loveland, except when it’s really cold in the winter. The Mission was a last resort.”

When she finally came to the Mission for emergency overnight shelter, she knew she found the right place. “I feel comfortable here. Not in the sense that I want to stay here forever,” she says laughing. “It will be nice to have my own place and take care of myself, but for now, it works.”

When she first found herself on the streets in Fort Collins, the experience changed her perceptions about homelessness. “Before I had this experience, I would look at people and say, ‘Oh, that young man can go out and get a job, but instead he’s just flying a sign.’ That was how I thought. But then I got to know some of these people. For 90% of them, this is not their choice. There are other places they would rather be. It breaks my heart to hear their stories.”

Margie thought she could make it on her own. She tried for months to get back on her feet, without success. Sharon, the Women’s Facility Assistant at Fort Collins Rescue Mission, continued inviting her into the Steps to Success program. “I kept telling myself, ‘No, I got this.’ But I didn’t have it,” she says. “I got really sick and even had a small stroke.”

Finally, she cried out to God for help in the middle of Jefferson Street one cold afternoon in December 2015. “Tears were rolling down my face as I sat down nearby,” she explains. “Sharon came out of the door and said, ‘Margie, will you please come into the program?’” It took Margie just moments to respond. “That was the answer to my prayer,” she says.

Today, Margie is excited to complete the Steps to Success program and get back on her feet. She also hopes to soon succeed in a four-year struggle to obtain disability assistance, but she says the Mission helped her most by giving her the confidence to move forward. “They gave me the feeling that I can get back on my feet again,” she says. “I felt like I was just worthless, but I don’t feel that anymore.”

Thanks to your generous support, Margie will soon be able to take care of herself and hopefully be with her family again someday. And she’s grateful for the help she’s received. “Never stop giving,” she responded when asked what she would say to someone reading this newsletter. “We’re worth it. I’m so thankful for those who believe people like me are worth helping.”


CLN June 2016

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story was featured in the June 2016 issue of Changing Lives titled "Worth Helping"

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