Heart and Home THRIFT STORE 2Sometimes our circumstances in life leave us wondering how we can possibly overcome what appears to be impossible odds. This is the story of a woman we’ll call Susan whose life was forever changed by the Jubilee REACH Heart & Home Thrift Store.

Together with Family Liaison Representatives from the Bellevue School District, Heart & Home brings essential baby supplies to deserving mothers in seven Title 1 schools. Their community service has the power to reach and forever alter the course of life, not only for mothers, but for entire families.

Susan’s story began at the age of fifteen when she first left home and eventually ended up in an abusive relationship that included a controlling husband and a gang life marked by violence and drug addiction. Susan said, “I tried to get out but he would find me. Three times I was strangled, almost to death. We both ended up in jail on drug charges. Jail saved my life.”

While she was incarcerated, Susan’s children were traumatized by being placed in foster care. She says “When I got out of jail and through drug treatment, I was homeless for eight months.” In order to escape her circumstances and predator husband, she traveled to Seattle in her broken down car where he couldn’t find her.

She would return to receive assistance from Eastside Domestic Violence, eventually moving into a safe home where she was able to care for her three children again. She admits “I had no skills, no confidence. I had only been put down my whole life.”

Susan was a customer at the Heart & Home Thrift Store where she shopped for clothes. While she very much wanted to work, her felony conviction made employment seem hopeless. She said “I asked Jason at Heart & Home if I could volunteer. Jason cared for me like a person and told me this was a place of second chances. Eventually I was hired.”

Susan now earns a living for herself and her children as a supervisor at Heart & Home Thrift Store. She oversees many volunteers who take on the daily work of keeping the store running smoothly.

The people at Heart & Home are courageous individuals who lead transparent, transformed and redeemed lives. They are all connected and they are all free. Susan adds, “I learned that I have a lot of skills and I love hospitality. I don’t want to leave here, this is my family.”