Living in a U-Haul with an Infant

Carla is like many young mothers who come to Metropolitan Ministries – anxious and fearful, but also determined to do whatever it takes to provide for their family.

Last year, Carla had a good job as a broker. Then the layoffs began and she and her family were forced out of their home.

Without any relatives nearby, Carla, her husband and their infant daughter found themselves living out of their U-Haul van.

“The worst period of my life,” is how Carla remembers it.

After 10 days, the family was covered in mosquito bites from sleeping with the windows down. Bathing consisted of washing with a garden hose. The smell inside their truck was wretched from sweating all day. Not surprisingly, her infant daughter hardly slept, keeping both her and her husband awake most nights.

“It was so hot and my baby wouldn’t stop crying. I felt so guilty,” Carla remembers. “I didn’t know who to turn to for help.”

And Carla and her husband were eating very little, except what they got from another homeless family who shared their food stamps.

“It was humbling but made me realize I need to push myself.”

Metropolitan Ministries offered Carla’s family what many of us take for granted: three meals a day, a shower, a bed to sleep in, and other kids for her daughter to play with.

With MiraclePlace now her temporary home, Carla turned her attention to returning to work and almost immediately found a job with an independent broker. Today, she does much of her work at the library, putting in 10-12 hour days and meeting with clients over lunch.

Back at Metro, Carla has begun helping other residents find jobs, and tutoring high school students, giving her a whole new perspective on homelessness.

“Not everyone who is homeless is uneducated or an addict.”

When Carla and her family were living in their U-Haul, the future looked hopeless. Now, thanks to your gifts, she is back on her feet and rejoicing for the second chance she’s been given.

When temperatures in Tampa Bay shoot into the 90s and the morning humidity hovers around 88%, like they are right now, life becomes unbearable.

Desperate moms and dads can’t afford to run their cars’ air conditioners for more than a couple minutes at a time. There’s no place to take a shower to wash the sweat off. Even getting a cold drink of water can be a challenge most days.

Carla’s story is one we’re hearing more and more these days…

One tragic life event knocking a family to their knees. But instead of giving up, they’re fighting back with everything they have before despair takes hold.

July is typically the hottest month of the year in Florida. This is when the summer heat can turn deadly — particularly for young children, who are most susceptible to dehydration or heatstroke if they are stuck inside a car for too long.

That’s why we urge you to act today.

When you do, you’ll provide families like Carla’s with all sorts of lifesaving help: from air-conditioned rooms and hearty meals to counseling and job training, a solid investment when you consider 84% of parents are employed when they leave here.

Don’t let these families suffer in this maddening heat even one more day. You just might save someone’s life!