AMARILLO, Texas — Many of us give thanks for family this time of year, and a mother and daughter who now give hope to the homeless are especially thankful for the bond they share.
“I was leery at first, I didn’t know if I’d be able to work with my mother,” said Faleta Stevenson, a case manager at the Salvation Army in Amarillo.
Her mother, Lonette Richardson, is a shelter monitor here. She applied for the job about 2 years ago, thanks to encouragement from Faleta, who was already on staff.
Their relationship had a rough start. Lonette was an addict, so Faleta was raised by her great-grandparents, then became a mother at 14, and eventually also cared for a sister who was eleven years younger.
“About as young as 11, I kinda had to learn mother instincts. I guess that’s where the caring stepped in. I’ve always had someone looking up to me that I had to take care of,” said Stevenson.
Lonette said her daughter’s compassion turned her life around 15 years ago.
“She knew I was gonna be okay when I didn’t know,” Richardson said.
“My mother is a very strong lady. When she didn’t know she could fight, I always knew she could,” Stevenson said.
A mother who once couldn’t care for her own children, now is a source of strength to strangers.
“I love it here, because with me being here, I’ve gotta stay strong and clean for the ladies, because they need someone like me,” Richardson said.
“The bond we have has become closer with the compassion that we both have. We’ve been able to help the people at the shelter because we can relate,” Stevenson said.
Sharing a living example of how a life that seems hopeless can turn into one with purpose through faith and love for one another.
“If I can save one person at a time, it’ll make the world a better place,” Richardson said.
The ladies say the message they deliver every day at the Salvation Army is, no matter how many times you fail, it’s never too late to start over.