Often, we’re the only ones hurt by our worst decisions. On the other hand, our best decisions tend to be those that have a positive impact on others.
There was a time, Sally remembers, when her life seemed ruled by bad decisions. Her ex-husband was addicted to drugs, and eventually, Sally started using too. Home was the Z Motel, a derelict and decrepit property that’s since been torn down (“for a reason,” Sally says, without elaborating). Money went to rent for another week or drugs for another day – food, laundry detergent, everything else was secondary.
Like many relationships when the common factor is substance use, Sally’s turned abusive. But abusers, especially those once loved, have a way of getting under their victims’ skin that’s almost as bad as physical addiction. Quitting is never easy.
But she did.
Twelve years later, Sally is happier than ever. Drugs and abuse are now a speck in the rearview mirror. Still, she’s never lost sight of the moment one good decision changed her life – and how it led her to help change so many others’ lives too.
It was a Sunday morning. Another woman living at the Z Motel wanted to stop by a local food bank but didn’t want to go alone. She and Sally weren’t exactly friends, but she was able to coax her into coming along.
The food bank in question was L.O.V.E. Healing Waters, a Feed the Children community partner in Arkansas and also a church focused on outreach ministry. After only one visit, the environment and atmosphere had a tremendous impact on Sally.
“There’s something when you walk in here,” Sally recalls. “It’s just a different feeling, just an awesome feeling. I got my food, went home, and I was like, ‘I want to go back there.’”
Simply knowing that she had support, and a place to go that genuinely cared about her, was instrumental in changing Sally’s life. She made the choice to break off her relationship with drugs and her husband and began working to better herself.
Those efforts quickly snowballed into bettering others. Sally decided that if she was going to accept help, then she wanted to give it in kind. And so, she started volunteering.
“The most wonderful thing about it...(is) to see a child when you give them a toy, or give them a piece of candy,” Sally says. “That is worth everything, to see the smile on their face. It’s not really work – it's just giving back what was given to me.”
Working at a food pantry, there's always something to do! If it’s not a Sunday food drive or another event day, she’s helping sort and restock donations. And there are so many – the generosity of Feed the Children’s donors keeps her busy! But it is the best kind of busy, and she sees firsthand the impact that can happen when someone makes the decision to donate.
“I probably couldn’t say, ‘Thank you,’ enough,” she says, beaming. “It’s just overwhelming to see what God does. I mean, everybody that donates, thank you very much, because without the donations, we really couldn’t do it.”