Had it not been for the Salvation Army, Christian athlete Lolo Jones does not know what would have happened to her and her family. She feels so grateful to the charitable organisation because it was due to the kind hearts of its people that they were able to stand on their own two feet again.
"When we were homeless @SalvationArmyUS sheltered my fam," Jones shared on her Twitter account (@lolojones). "The money donated helps ppl all year."
She spoke about her homeless past in length during her speech at the annual Salvation Army luncheon, according to The Houston Chronicle. Jones revealed that her family once sought refuge at The Salvation Army Citadel Corps and Community Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
"When we lost our house, I saw my mother pack up her five kids, give us each a blanket and drive around with no destination," Jones said. "They let us sleep in the basement until she got her feet on the ground."
Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas were always a treat, she said, because charitable individuals always give food and presents whenever they encounter bell-ringing fundraisers.
"Simply because people are shopping and hear the little bell, they stop and donate," she shared. "That changes people's lives. It changed my life."
So whenever Jones is asked where she gets the courage to rise up and try again after every ordeal, she always answers: "With the help of the Salvation Army."
Jones' life story is truly inspiring. Her mother raised five kids on her own since Jones' father was not much help as he was always in and out of prison. Whenever he got out, he would urge Jones to steal TV dinners from the store.
"My dad would always say they're never going to suspect me because they never look at a cute young girl," she told TIME back in a 2012 interview. "There was definitely shame for sure, but looking back, I was able to eat. There's a Hungry-Man — steak and potatoes and a little brownie — you're like, I'm all over that."