Cancer Can't Cancel Christmas: Sarah's Story

Dec 16, 2022

How The Salvation Army Provides Hope to Families Through Christmas and Beyond.


Sarah came to The Salvation Army Anaheim Red Shield last December, knowing that she needed assistance in providing some sort of Christmas for her four children.

Many families need help during this time of year. However, Sarah was experiencing not only financial hardship but also grief.

With her husband's recent diagnosis of cancer, Sarah knew she needed to be by his side during this unexpected health crisis. She quit her full-time job to be with him during his treatments. This meant that her reliable source of income would no longer be available to help support her family.

Due to the sensitivity of her husband's immune system and not wanting him to get sick, Sarah scheduled an appointment to shop for her children in the toy warehouse separately from the annual Toy Distribution day.

Sarah was grateful for not only the gifts for her children but the conversation and pastoral care that The Salvation Army had given her during such a hard time.

“I didn’t have to worry about how we were going to afford Christmas gifts or food,” said Sarah. “While I had to be strong for my family, I knew that Captain Corrin was always just a phone call away.  She gave me the gift of spending Christmas with my entire family.”

Fast forward to a month later.

Captain Corrin received a phone call from an unknown number. When she answered the phone, she heard a woman crying on the other end. It was Sarah.

Sarah informed her that her husband had lost his battle with cancer.  She didn't know what she was going to do to provide for her children because she was not able to go back to her job. Captain Corrin sat alongside her, providing a listening ear and resources that might be able to help her with her bills that were quickly piling up.

Captain Corrin connected Sarah to a caseworker at The Salvation Army Orange County’s family services where she was provided rental and utility assistance, clothing vouchers, and an opportunity to participate in Pathways of Hope. After all, hope is what she needed through all of this.

Pathways of Hope is an organization that provides a year-long program to help families through life and prevent homelessness, as well as continued pastoral care from officers local Salvation Army corps.

“We are blessed to have the opportunity to walk with members of our community through this bumpy journey we call life,” said Captain Corrin.

“Not only did we alleviate some stress from Sarah’s last Christmas with her husband, but we were able to provide a safe, loving space for her to be supported while she grieved. More importantly, we became a reliable place where she knew she could experience hope.”

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