Today’s riddle:  What is part security blanket and part cheering section?

August 17, 2021

“Funny how quickly things can fall apart,” Cathy reflected. She knew her marriage wasn’t perfect, but when her four children were removed from their home “for their own protection,” it became blatantly obvious that she needed to face facts. Cathy thought she could handle the situation on her own because she had a decent job and was used to relying on herself. She planned to dissolve her failed marriage, move into her own apartment, get her children back and move on with life.

Then reality hit. She was staying in a friend’s basement, sleeping on a futon. She couldn’t save enough for a security deposit, move-in costs and rent, because half of her paycheck was taken for child support. Cathy hit rock bottom. “My illusion of having it all under control faded more and more until I didn’t think I would ever pull through and have things return to normal. All I could do was cry and pray for divine guidance.”

That is when she called Bridge of Hope. “That was the most important phone call of my life.” The case manager listened to her story without judgment. Cathy liked the fact that the program addressed not only her financial needs, but the emotional ones as well. For Cathy, the Neighboring Volunteers were “part reference book, part security blanket, part cheering section.” Cathy said, “After trying to manage for so long on my own, it felt good to have someone call just to see how I was doing.”

Cathy was able to establish a safe home for her children and regain the emotional strength necessary to relocate with her job to another state. Today Cathy is remarried; works for Penn State Altoona and attends Zion Lutheran Church in Hollidaysburg, PA. With her encouragement, her church is our newest Bridge of Hope OneChurch site. Cathy says, “God instructs us to share time, talents and treasure; I don’t have a lot of treasures, but I want to share my story to help others know about Bridge of Hope and to give back.”

35 years ago this month, Pastor Andrew Leatherman preached a sermon entitled “Facing Ruins” (based on Nehemiah 2:11-20) that sparked the launching of Bridge of Hope by co-founders Linda Witmer and Sandy Lewis. Cathy is just one of the thousands of women, children and Neighboring Volunteers – whose lives have ultimately been changed by that sermon.

We don’t all start from the same starting line in life. I had advantages growing up that Cathy likely didn’t have. But with the support of her Neighboring Volunteers, Cathy has been able to rebuild what once felt like ruins. And her courage to share her story will allow more moms facing homelessness to find support and rebuild up from the ruins.

May we all, like Nehemiah, face the ruins in our own lives and engage in the ruins around us, in the lives of our homeless neighbors, our housed neighbors, our neighbors near and far.

Edith Yoder


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Today’s riddle:  What is part security blanket and part cheering section?