Heartwarming Story

The messages on our chalkboard wall poured into one fierce mama’s heart.  Pray, don’t stop, have faith.

Those simple words have been an anchor in Michelle’s life and never more so than over the past 18 months.

Moving into a new apartment last summer, Michelle wanted nothing more than to provide a safe home for her young son. Little did she know that they would soon suffer from debilitating symptoms caused by mold.

Her symptoms reached a fever pitch and one day she couldn’t catch her breath. Moving would pose a financial burden, but it was her only option.

She leaned into her faith and relied on the people God had placed before her. One friend opened their home and another referred her to Mercy Mall.   

Every week we serve families whose lives are upended by negligent landlords. We’re able to serve Michelle and others with practical items they’ve lost! 

Though we provide these necessities, we’ve also created a safe space to share prayers and offer encouragement. Michelle’s powerful story of prayer, perseverance, and faith, is an inspiration!

A Devastating Fire Didn’t Consume Her Positivity

Devastated.  That’s how Charnelle described the flood of emotions when she visited her home after it had been ravaged by fire.

So many questions consumed her thoughts.  Where would they live?  How would they replace everything that had been lost?

But true to her nature, she quickly focused on the blessings in front of her – she and her children were safe!

In the weeks that followed, Charnelle leaned into family for temporary housing and advocates in the community to assist with immediate needs, like clothing.

It was 8 weeks after the life altering fire that we served Charnelle with practical houseware items – she and her children were moving into stable housing!

We asked Charnelle how she stayed so positive during a time that could have been filled with fear and anxiety.  Her response was simple, “There’s so much to be thankful for!”

Charnelle’s hopeful outlook in life is such a bright encouragement to her loved ones!

A crisis can strike anyone at any time.  At Mercy Mall, we sometimes meet the practical needs of our clients in the days following a crisis and other times it’s during the final stages of rebuilding!

A Journey Across 7 Countries with Only a Backpack

What measures would you take to rescue your children from a lifetime of debilitating poverty?  Would you travel thousands of miles…many of those miles on foot?

Years of not being able to provide for their daughters’ basic needs was heartbreaking for the Flores family.  They felt their only option was to flee their homeland of Venezuela. 

With only a backpack each, they traveled under treacherous conditions through 7 countries, including 60 miles of the roadless Darién Gap.  Here the family faced thick forests, raging rivers, and the constant threat of human traffickers!

Through a network of humanitarian advocates, the Flores family has settled in the Richmond area and begun to receive local support from school counselors, Mercy Mall, and refugee relief organizations.

The Flores represent the many families in our community who are fiercely fighting to provide for their children.  Meeting the basic needs that we all want to provide for our families – food and shelter! 

At Mercy Mall, we are cheerleaders for these courageous families who are going to unimaginable lengths to give their children stability and opportunity!

*Name has been changed.

We Need Community

Years of addiction and homelessness led NB to a life of isolation.  He felt that the world had let him down and was convinced that it was easier to do life ‘on his own.’

But living one crisis after the next began to take a toll and the armor of protection he had built started to soften.  For the first time in his life, he felt seen.

You are worth it!  You have value!

It was through a community of support with Soaring Eagles, that his confidence started to grow.

And that community of support extended to Mercy Mall.  Not only were we able to serve him with warm clothes, but we showered him with encouragement and hope!

Having a community on his side, NB has set high standards for himself.  He is driven and focused on the future! When someone is suffering, asking for help is sometimes the most difficult step.  The fear of judgment looms large and the shame can be stifling.  NB’s story is one of hope for others who are ready to take that courageous step!

A Gift from God

In our hospitality lobby, we share valuable resources, shower prayers of encouragement, and provide our clients with the ability to receive quality items!!

This comfortable space is where stories are shared and prayers are answered! 

This is where we met Beth, a disabled veteran of two teen boys.  Beth visited us to receive winter clothing for her family while awaiting VA benefits to kick in. 

We showered Beth with attention as she ‘shopped’ from the items we stock in our lobby.  Not only was she able to receive a few practical things for her home, God answered a prayer that had been weighing on her heart…

Beth shared that she didn’t know how she was going to be able to afford a gift for her son’s birthday.  But in our lobby, she found the perfect thing!  She was overwhelmed by this answer to a prayer! God delights in us and hears our prayers!  We are thankful for our team of prayer warriors that faithfully serve our clients and rejoice when prayers are answered!!

Grow Hope Story #12 – Hope for the Future

“I want a safe place for my children that we can call home.” 

That sentiment rang true for Leila…a woman whose confidence and self-worth had been battered for many years at the hand of an abusive husband.

Pregnant with two young children, she was petrified to leave, uncertain of what would happen to her children.  With no family of her own to turn to, she felt she had no options.  

That all changed, though, when her therapist made a concerned call to CPS.  

Ms Nancy, a counselor with Healthy Families Virginia, became ‘the rock’ that Leila needed, providing hope and encouragement through housing resources and a visit to Mercy Mall to receive clothing for her growing children and practical items for her baby on the way!

This loving care has grown Leila’s confidence to have hope for the future and to ‘live before it’s too late.’  

Her priority now is creating a safe, stable home for her children!

Leila is hopeful for her future, and focused on creating a safe, stable home for her children with the supplies she needs, thanks to the kind donations from donors like you!  Your gift of $200 or any amount will serve a mom like Leila with a fresh start!  Together we can Grow Hope!! 

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Thank you, Ms. Nancy, for being the hands and feet of Jesus!

Grow Hope Story #11 – A Medical Crisis

For a mother, it’s a phone call that turns into the worst nightmare…  “Your son has been in a car accident.  8 hours away.  He may not make it.”

In an instant, Demetria did what any mother would do.  She uprooted her children from West Virginia to Richmond overnight, leaving everything behind. 

Though the following months have been a blur, she is thankful that her son is going to be ok.

‘I’ve never had anything like this happen before.  I wasn’t prepared.’

The care of her family has been front and center and she stops at nothing to self-advocate.  Seeking out stable housing, resources for furniture, and being served at Mercy Mall to fill the gaps of so many of the items they were forced to leave behind in West Virginia – clothing, bedding, basic kitchen essentials.  

We are proud to stand beside this fierce mama!

Your $120 donation serves a mother just like Demetria who is fighting for her family. Donate here: https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/lYJEFth3Y10tl_sKO0zCsw

Grow Hope Story #10 – Leaving Behind the Old Life

Turning away from a toxic lifestyle takes courage and resolve and we celebrate those who make these lifesaving decisions!

Crisis hit John’s home when his father unexpectedly passed away.  Consumed with grief,  John and his mother’s world began to unravel.  Their income was depleted, disaster struck their home, and substance abuse became a mechanism to cope.

In a moment of clarity, John was desperate to get his life together.  Through Hope, Inc., John is on the road to recovery.  The kind guidance of a counselor led him to a treatment facility and ultimately Mercy Mall, where we served him with much needed winter clothing.   

For John, leaving his old life behind has been a lesson in learning to ‘stay the course, no matter how hard it gets.’  

He is determined to continue treatment and looks forward to receiving job training to learn a trade.  John holds onto hope for the future and is resolved to not give up!

$35 is all it takes to give hope and encouragement to someone in our community who is striving to leave their ‘old life behind.’  Together, we can change lives!  Grow Hope!!

Grow Hope Story #9 – God is the Waymaker

“My children don’t need to be around that.” 

Angel had reached her threshold of abuse and it was time to leave the man she still loved and focus on what’s best for her and her six children.  

Angel met her husband when she was 14 and grew accustomed to taking care of everyone else.  She felt stuck. Until she felt the Lord telling her to leave her life in New York behind, move to her loving home in Virginia, and go back to school. 

After 18 months, she received a housing voucher, but didn’t have enough money to purchase what was needed to start over.   We supplied her family with practical household items, winter clothes, cleaning supplies, and more to take the next step on her journey to stability.  

We meet many families on their road to healing and recovery from what seems like impossible circumstances!  Angel’s zest for life, greater love for children and finally herself put her on a path of progression.  She never lost sight of God’s goodness, His faithfulness, and the power of prayer! 

She wants others to know, “You don’t have to stay in a toxic relationship…God will make a way…in His timing.”  And at Mercy Mall, we have seen this play out in countless lives.  

Be part of someone’s miracle by helping us Grow Hope today by texting growhope23 to 44-321.  Thank you, Angel, for sharing your story with us!!

Grow Hope Story #8 – God Created CommUNITY

When asked, our clients will sometimes describe a pivotal moment in their crisis that is the catalyst for much-needed change!

For Destiny, this moment was a stroke causing her to be hit by a car… leaving her speechless and immobile, depressed, and lonely!

She was clearly not proud of her past lifestyle and she felt as though “God was trying to get her attention.” She traveled through months of not being able to walk or talk.  

She leaned into the Lord and He showed her more of who she was created to be.  She pours herself into church and focuses on her health and future.  Mercy Mall was able to provide her much-needed clothing, housewares and a Bible.  

We were never meant to be alone.  God created community.  We take this seriously.

Part of our mission statement is “…building relationships.”  We may not be able to join our clients around the dinner table or stay in touch with all of them, but in that very moment of giving and receiving in the lobby at Mercy Mall, Destiny felt loved, seen, and cared for…a precious moment of God-centered commUNITY!!

Destiny, you go girl!!!  You are an inspiration. None of us have it all together either…keep doing the next right thing in love!!  A $35 donation can serve someone in the community just like Destiny with warm clothes, a Bible, and a loving hand to grab onto!  Help Us Grow Hope Today!!