Mary, living here in Costa Mesa, was married to a guy that didn’t want to work and was chasing drugs. After losing her job, they ended up being evicted from their home. Friends who had promised to help them move their things were a no show and she became homeless with 15 shopping carts full of their belongings. Those 15 soon dwindled down to one. Homeless on the streets of Costa Mesa for 2 1⁄2 years and trying to figure things out, stuck in some unhealthy relationships, dealing with dental issues and earlobes mangled from her earrings being yanked out by an old boyfriend, Mary’s self-esteem was a wreck and her hope was gone. It wasn’t a long walk from Wilson Park to the Church of Christ, where Mary met Pastor John Begin. Here she started to learn more about how much she matters to God and how churches in the city were working together to make a difference. Pastor John connected her to the Community Impact Team, which is run by leaders from 6 different churches and helps organize people experiencing homelessness into teams of volunteers that serve throughout the community, at businesses, churches and in the city, cleaning and helping where they can. The process helps prepare them to re-enter the work force and develop some references as they practice timeliness, teamwork and their work ethic, while they understand the contribution they can really make.
After several months of Mary participating on the Community Impact Team, and taking advantage of the resources and agencies they referred her to Mary’s life has changed dramatically. Dr. Stephen H. Fink, a facial plastic surgeon from one of our partner churches, donated his services and fixed Mary’s ears. With tears running down her face, Mary described how this has impacted her self-image and confidence. Mary has served with zeal and enthusiasm on the volunteer teams and now has a job, and is in temporary housing. She is excited for the prospects that lay ahead for her and the community that has come around her and let her know how much she matters to God and to others. As businesses, doctors, churches, agencies, city outreach workers and caring volunteers work together, it truly makes a greater impact than any one of these ever could make on their own. The focus, organization and communication it takes to facilitate these kinds of things is what makes Trellis special. People like Mary, families in our schools, and neighbors who are unconnected are the benefactors as we continue striving to be “Better Together.”