Edward Barrett parked in the driveway of A New Leaf’s La Mesita Family Homeless Shelter with one of his prized possessions, a shiny Volvo automobile, which sparkled in the sunlight.
This precious car had been his single material possession when he was homeless, and as a single father, he was the sole provider of his very young children, Sienna and E.J., using the Volvo to buy them clothes and necessities. This was no random vehicle; it was part of the family.
But that’s why he was at the shelter that day. He wanted to donate the car to a needy family. He wanted to impart the blessing of having a car to someone who was in the shoes he had worn a year ago when he was desperate. A time when he was homeless, jobless, and terrified of the future. Imagine waking up with a pit in your stomach, a feeling of numbness from losing your job, and now, no home for your kids. Edward had been divorced, and now he was the caretaker of two very young children, ages 3 and 5. “I wasn’t prepared to be a single father, but you have to be willing to care for them night and day,” Edward remembers. “I thought I was a terrible human being for putting my kids through my situation and no home.”
He was forced to stay with friends, who knew he was desperate and needed a place to stay, especially for the kids’ sake. But he couldn’t do that for long. He knew it would take time to find a job. But with no home, he was in bad shape.
It was a friend who told him about A New Leaf’s La Mesita Family Shelter. He was overjoyed when he found out he might have a more permanent place to stay, a family shelter that would take him and his children. It meant the world to him.
He and his children moved into the shelter, and it felt like coming home. “The staff were so nice and caring, and the other residents welcomed us with open arms,” Edward says. “The best part was that they helped me with my job search, and I ended up getting a great job at a local company.” Edward says that the La Mesita shelter was the best thing that ever happened to him. “Finding La Mesita at that exact time in my life saved my family.”
Now, more than a year later, Edward was ready to give back. With a new job and a new home, he was going to purchase a new car. But he didn’t want to just trade it in. This car was special. It took him to job interviews and it kept his family going in difficult times. So he decided to donate it to a special cause: to a needy family staying at the La Mesita shelter.
Edward met the family at the door to the shelter. They were thrilled beyond words. The father had shared his Christmas wish list with the La Mesita staff, and he had written that the family needed a new car more than anything else. Who would ever guess that Edward had a special car to donate? So Edward handed the keys to the young family, and that special car continued its service to another family who was now working hard to follow in Edward’s steps.
A New Leaf is about new beginnings. You can support families like Edward’s who are turning over a new leaf. You can donate to A New Leaf by calling 480-464-4648 or by clicking on the donate now button on this website.