Eggert is always moved by the experience. She has seen kids donate their entire allowance from the previous year. One year, as Eggert sat at a table accepting donations, she was handed money by a haggard looking woman who had spent the previous night in the shelter. “I know you stay here; you need this money,” Eggert gently told the woman. She replied. “I don’t need it. You guys take care of me.” Says Eggert, “It was $5. It was all she had.”
The people in The Road Home all have their sad stories, as victims of the economy, themselves, fate, or circumstance. For her part, Appie ran away from home as a teen and wound up in state custody. She tried to make a go of it. She went to beauty school, but then the babies arrived and her first marriage crumbled. Her first child is with her ex. Her second child was taken by the state because of her drug use. When social services showed up at the hospital last week, she feared the same fate for her third child, but so far all that has been required is periodic drug tests.
“We were using when I found out we were pregnant,” she says. “But not since then.”
Some friends introduced her to Clifford five years ago, shortly before she moved to Oregon. He kept calling her and eventually suggested she return to Utah.
“He said he would take care of me," she says. "I didn’t know him well and what I did know was not all that favorable. But I got to know him from a distance and started to like who I thought he was. Five years later I still do.”
As she talks, she strokes her infant’s back and holds him close. “Things’ll get better and now me and my husband have good reason to stay straight and do what we need to do,” she says.
Meanwhile, she waits. “The ultimate Christmas blessing would be to have my husband here with us,” she says.
Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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