“I Know How it Feels to be Hopeless”

Erika has a lot of miserable memories from her childhood. Her dad died when she was only 6. “I felt completely alone,” she says.

By the time she was 13, Erika and her six siblings had lived in five states, numerous cities, countless apartments . . . and even in a tent for a while.

“Things seemed to go from bad to worse,” she remembers. “But my mom always relied on The Salvation Army to help out with bills and with clothing for me and my siblings.”

Christmas Memories You Made Possible

Erika’s earliest memory of The Salvation Army was when they helped her family with gifts and food over the holidays. “We would not have had Christmas some years if not for the Army,” she says. “The sheer outpouring of love from the Army helped me and my siblings survive.”

These days, Erika is giving back. Since she was 16, she has bought Christmas presents for a girl and a boy through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which provides gifts for children who live in poverty.

“It means so much to me because at one time I was one of those kids,” Erika says today. “I know how it feels to be hopeless. The Salvation Army brings so much hope and light to a dark world.”

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