Chance encounters can sometimes lead to life changing events. That was the case for one Huntsville woman, Jessica, who asked for her last name to not be disclosed.
Jessica lost her home in the April 27th, 2011 tornadoes. For the past year she has been homeless, hopping from her mother’s house to missions and motels, all while working two jobs and caring for her two children.
One of her jobs was day manager at Subway, where Calvin Havens is one of the regulars. He’s also the pastor of Ford’s Chapel United Methodist Church. They struck up a sort of friendship, until one day Haven noticed Jessica hadn’t been at work in a couple of weeks.
“I came in and she said ‘have you missed me?’ And I said ‘yeah! Where have you been?’”
Jessica had been admitted to the hospital, diagnosed with cancer. She had recently found a new mobile home, but after the diagnoses and chemo treatments couldn’t afford the repairs or utility deposits.
“I told her, I think we can take care of that at Ford’s Chapel,” said Havens. “We came down and looked at the trailer and it was more than just flooring, like she thought. We completely overhauled the trailer. New plumbing, new electrical, new air conditioners.”
The community got on board. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church helped with the renovations. Businesses and individuals donated appliances, furniture, toys, and decorations.
After two months of waiting, thinking the church was only doing minor repairs, Jessica and her children finally got to see their new home.
“It means the world to me. It means the world to me that we can finally call something a home,” said Jessica. “I can’t believe it. Such a miracle. We‘ve been through so much. I just can’t explain it.”
Word of Jessica’s cancer quickly spread through the St. John the Baptist congregation, and she is now receiving help from St. John’s Cancer Ministry, the St. Vincent de Paul Group, and the Knights of Columbus.