Voices of the Community
As you read these posts you are invited to relate, empathize, seek to understand, and soften your heart to fellow community members. We encourage you to ask yourself how you could value others today with your time, talent, and treasure.
If you would like to share your perspective and experience send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Walking in love
Hi, my name is Danielle and I am a very grateful recipient of assistance, support, love and encouragement from the PIVOT TN program. I learned about this program because I was looking for help with a bicycle to get back and forth to work because Maryville doesn't have a bus system and my job was pretty far from where I kept all of my belongings in storage. That's where I kept all of my things because I am homeless. They helped me with an awesome bicycle, supportive housing, case management, budgeting and so much more. I've had difficulty with family, negative friends and I'm also currently going through a divorce. I've been clean from alcohol and drugs since Nov. 1, 2021, and had so many struggles along the way. There is only one shelter for women in Blount County and it is quite disorganized and overwhelming because the women gossip, argue and disrespect the house mother. It's chaos. Knox Area Rescue Ministries was not a long-term option for me because I've experienced multiple accounts of trauma there in the past. So, this time around of homelessness, I decided to stay by myself outside. Before I met Theresa, Mandy, Grace and Mike, I was determined to live outside and just stay to myself while I "worked things out" on my own. I was angry, hurt and alone. I wholeheartedly was going to stay away from people, and I was overwhelmed. But God said no. He was going to give me love, kindness, gentleness, and patience through these wonderful people. I'm so glad that I stopped into the warming shelter last month and was able to connect with Theresa who helped me to sign up for a bicycle and a mailing address because that's when my life truly began to change. She even brought the bicycle to me on a holiday and has gone out of her way ever since to make sure that I was doing okay, that I had enough to eat, that I felt safe and more. It hasn't been easy and I'm still a little ways from stability but they have stuck by my side the entire time. Theresa encourages me in the Lord and now my heart isn't as broken as it was. I'm still currently homeless because it takes time of course but God has now blessed me with an even better job opportunity in the next town over and multiple organizations plus a church who are helping with the next steps. I'm now making almost 4 more dollars an hour at my new job; they gave me the schedule I needed and I have the ability to work a lot of overtime which I didn't have at my last job. So, I can now afford to support myself much quicker. I've also been blessed with temporary housing assistance with this change in jobs because the HR department at my new job heard about my situation and connected me with help. I was going to stay outside in a tent but was surprised with another option! God keeps surprising me and changing my plans, forcing me out of isolation. A lot has happened in the past 5 weeks and I'm so grateful for everyone from PIVOT, A Place to Stay and First Baptist Church of Maryville for holding my hand through this process and making me feel safe and loved 🙂 I have hope now that my circumstances will continue to change for the better and that one day, I can also contribute back into the community by being the hands and feet of Christ just like these people have done for me.
Eating out of the trash can while others ice skate
Wrecked with emotion while standing there emersed in the holiday atmosphere in downtown Knoxville Market Square, watching my friends ice skate when I saw a man with socked feet, no shoes reach into the trash can and pull out a to-go-box thrown away. He plopped it on the top of the Knoxville City trach bin and began to consume the leftovers of someone else. How is it that the world spins so oblivious to others' pain and suffering? How can we ignore the needs of others and promote ourselves so falsely? How can we just carry on our way, while others are being actively tormented by circumstances of their everyday while just trying to survive?
I went into Subway and bought a gift card to give to him but by the time the transaction was completed, he was gone. I felt like the trash in the can because I am guilty of not paying attention to others' suffering. There is purpose in valuing others; I believe it is the gift of living. From that experience, I will pay attention to others.
Volunteer of PIVOT TN
This first post comes from a young volunteer that served with us to clean up an encampment here in Blount County.
Burned Bibles and Polystyrene Beads