Kathryn Loder met single mother of five Erica at the George R. Brown hurricane Harvey shelter. When Matt Marino challenged the attendees at the GO Ministry Serving for Change dinner to use $1000 gift cards to assist people affected by Harvey, she was deeply inspired and felt led by God to go out and help someone in need.  Kathryn accepted the gift card challenge to go “do good” in the name of the Lord.  She wanted to figure out how to use this gift card in the best way possible to help this family.  What she learned was that “digging deeper” and creating a stronger relationship to affect change goes way beyond giving a gift card.

Erica and her family were homeless and living in a pretty grim environment. She had no transportation for the family and travel to work. She had purchased an undisclosed Harvey flooded car that needed car towing, repairs and service. Erica works two jobs and transportation is hugely important.

Kathryn, Taylour Burton, and Jenny Childers earmarked their GO grant gift card to continue to assist Erica, and recruited Robyn LaRocca and her Life Group, who also had a GO gift card. They set into action to assist in figuring out an appropriate living environment for this family, appropriate transportation, and resources to help them in their day to day living.  Robyn contacted The Forge, who agreed to assist in finding appropriate transportation, education, and housing.

This wasn’t easy.  Frustration was a big part of “digging deeper”. They learned that Erica had multiple outstanding tickets and an invalid driver’s license.  Robyn and Kathryn persevered. Their faith kept them focused on the goal of really helping get this family stabilized and functioning. Robyn personally took Erica to get her driver’s license renewed and to look at several cars.  Robyn and Kathryn attended meetings with her at The Forge and did a clothing drive for the children. SJD stepped up with Harvey funds to get the car fixed and to assist in taking care of her tickets.

The group went on a family back-to-school shopping spree! Pegi, Robyn and Kathryn went school uniform shopping with Erica and four of her precious children.  It was a joyful and exciting “back to school” shopping experience, especially because the activity included the four children who were excited as it was the day before the start of school!

The winners are the five children and this mother who now have new hope and a path to a better life.  The Forge will be an incredible safety net as this family confronts day to day challenges.

Dosher/LaRocca Life Group: Pegi and John Dosher, Robyn and Marc LaRocca, Carole Pagnotto, Janet and Charlie Menefee, and Susan Knizner. YoPro group: Kathryn Loder, Taylour Burton, Jenny Childers.