Soon after arriving at Covenant House, Rita sat by herself in the corner during our Christmas Eve service. She was crying.
At 19 years old, Rita had dealt with more than anyone should. After being evicted, she and her mother lived in a car until her mother died suddenly of a heart attack. Her whole life had collapsed in the space of a few months – she lost her home, dropped out of school, buried her mother and tried to survive on the streets before hunger, fear and panic pushed her to seek help.
Rita didn’t talk much when she came to us – she kept to herself, often hiding behind a curtain of hair. But that Christmas Eve, Rita finally opened up. We found out she had a sister named Jessie who had been taken to foster care after their mother died. Rita had tried to take care of Jessie herself, but it was too much for a 19 year old to bear. Now, she didn’t know where to find her.
Though Jessie’s foster mother did not answer her phone, we left a message inviting her to our Christmas celebration. We were shocked when nine year old Jessie and her foster mom showed up – but no one was more shocked than Rita. When she saw her little sister, Rita dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around Jessie as they rocked back and forth, crying and laughing.
It was the first time we’d ever seen Rita smile. But it wasn’t the last.
Your support helps us give children like Rita a warm bed, clean clothes… and maybe even a Christmas miracle. Please make a holiday gift to Covenant House today.
The names and faces of some of our kids have been changed to protect their identities.