Melissa; Las Vegas, NV

Today’s story is extremely close to my heart. At Can You Spare A Story’s first event, “The Priceless Pop-Up Shop,” we met a multitude of individuals willing to share their stories to receive basic necessities. The event was not the only first for Can You Spare A Story that day, Melissa was the first woman to ever share her story without worry of taking a photo or being shamed. As Melissa approached me, my eyes immediately glued to hers and I could see a burst of hope within her. Melissa is a 49-year-old (yes, I said 49! I couldn’t believe it either,) who has recently received word of a new job after being homeless for the past month. A sad reality that many homeless individuals face upon being hired is not having clothing, toiletries, and transportation to perform the tasks expected of them. This was Melissa’s reality, she had to call in sick to her first day at her new job because she did have any clothes other than the ones on her back. July 29th, 2017 was Melissa’s first day of work and it was also the Can You Spare A Story Priceless Pop-Up Shop. Melissa stumbled upon our event on the perfect day, she received new clothing, shoes, and toiletries to start her new job.

As she approached the table to share her story, I saw someone broken come back to life. Her skin was glowing and her smile spread ear-to-ear, this moment was the reason Can You Spare A Story was born. Her happiness was contagious as she laughed with the other women she travels with. It takes a strong woman to survive on the streets and Melissa does this flawlessly. She walked strong with her shoulders back strutting confidence, an action many women struggle with. Having confidence is a major issue. I, as many others have struggled with having confidence for many years. Curious for the answer myself, I asked Melissa her secret and she replied, ” I never lost faith in life.” These words have stuck with me ever since, it truly is that simple and I hope you learn the same lesson I did from Melissa.

In asking Melissa how she survives on the streets, she answered simply by saying she does something productive every single day. Her daily task worked to keep her on the right track back to a normal life. Whether that be looking for a job, finding a shelter, or begging for food. She travels in a group of 3 other women, all of them dedicated to keeping one another safe. She told me that you have to put in effort to receive things in life, no one is going to hand you exactly what you need all the time. Her other words of wisdom included being willing to accept services without fear of shame. I loved this idea, never feel lesser for taking what you need. Melissa has made use of free bus passes provided by local shelters to go to and from work. I wish Melissa nothing but the absolute best in her new adventure. She truly is one of the strongest women I have ever met, if you’ve met my mother you know this means a lot. I cannot thank you enough for reading Melissa’s story. Please be sure to subscribe using the menu bar to your left to keep up with stories!