Three months ago, Ashley Dunham was desperate for a fresh start and a second chance. So she packed up her entire life and left New Jersey on the Greyhound bus with her daughter. She arrived in Florida 36 hours later.
“We spent a week with my mother, and then she gave me information about Trinity,” said Ashley. “After calling and receiving more information, my journey at [Trinity Rescue] Mission began.”
Ashley remembered feeling scared the first night because it was her first time being homeless and she did not know what to expect. Above all, she wanted to make sure that her daughter felt safe. “I told myself if my daughter was uncomfortable or scared, we would leave and book our tickets back to New Jersey.” To her surprise, her daughter made friends right away in the overnight room and had a smile that never left her face. It was then that Ashley knew it was God’s plan for her and her daughter to stay in Florida.
However, the next morning, Ashley’s faith was tested when she asked about joining the Lifeline Program. “I was devastated when I was told there weren’t any mom rooms at this point,” she said. “I was six months pregnant, so that meant I would have to leave every day and find something to do until check-ins at 1:30.”
Ashley stood in the parking lot trying to hide her tears from her daughter. She did not know anything about Florida, so she had no idea where to go. Afraid and hopeless, Ashley called her mother and told her she was going back to New Jersey. “[My mother] told me to pray on it because she knew I belonged here. God knew it too, because when I checked back in, they were able to make a way for me to stay. They made an exception for me.”
Now three months later, Ashley is about to graduate from the Lifeline Program with her daughter and a healthy baby boy by her side. Ashley is thankful for how the program helped her grow in her finances and find better ways to deal with anger. “I realized I had a shopping addiction,” she said. “I am proud to say I can now go inside any store and have the self-control to only buy what I absolutely need.” In terms of her anger, Ashley no longer lets it control her, instead, she controls it and leans on God’s word to get her through.
Ashley’s progress while in Lifeline has also built stronger relationships, not only with God, but with her mother as well. She has a renewed sense of faith and is confident when God says it’s time to move on from Florida, she has everything she needs to be self-sufficient.
“I'm forever grateful to Trinity and the wonderful staff for providing me with stability, food, and the tools needed to survive outside of here.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness, please reach out to Trinity Rescue Mission in person or by calling (904) 355-1205. If you are interested in being a part of the Trinity Rescue Mission in terms of financial giving, in-kind donations, or donating your time as a volunteer, please visit the website by clicking here.