The Salvation Army of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Command Officers, Majors Bradley and Anita Caldwell, watched shelter one night. Only one woman came to stay at the shelter that night. She settled in and got to sleep, and the next morning she came to Major Anita Caldwell for a coat. It was frigid out, and she did not have one. On top of a pile of black bags filled with donations sat one coat. The coat was the only item that wasn’t bagged, and it fit her perfectly.
“It was just for her. I loved that. It was like a miracle,” Major Anita Caldwell explained.
The woman left the building with her new coat and all of her belongings and sat on the sidewalk because she had nowhere else to go. It was obvious that she had mental health concerns of some kind because she began talking to people around her and called for a dog or child to follow her, although there was no one around. The Officers had a scheduled food distribution first thing that morning and did not feel comfortable leaving the woman alone on the sidewalk. Concerned for her safety, Majors Caldwell contacted the Open Doors Homeless Coalition. By 3:00 PM that afternoon, the woman was in her own room in her own apartment, and the Open Doors Homeless Coalition had ordered a bed for her.
A Salvation Army social worker transported the woman to her new apartment, and Major Anita Caldwell made arrangements for the power to be turned on. The more incredible blessing in this story of miracles is that the woman was connected with the CHOICE Program to receive assistance for a year. The CHOICE Program works collaboratively with the Mississippi Department of Health, Mississippi’s Community Mental Health Centers, and Mississippi Home Cooperation to provide intensive case management and temporary rental assistance to make housing affordable throughout Mississippi for individuals with serious mental illness.
“To me, that is my Christmas miracle. I just love that. I couldn’t have put those pieces together in 24 hours if I tried to,” Major Anita Caldwell shared.
“Any other day, no one would know about her, but now someone can knock on her door and check on her,” Major Anita Caldwell added.
To learn more about how The Salvation Army Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Command, visit https://salvationarmyalm.org/msgulfcoast/.