Rhonda had been living a quiet life with Jim, her husband of more than 30 years. Though personal health issues had left her on disability, Rhonda’s husband kept a roof over their heads and made sure that they were always comfortable. Then came a call that would change their lives forever. Their son, a single father facing his own struggles, was headed to prison to serve a long sentence. The care of his two sons fell to Rhonda and Jim, who welcomed the boys into their home and set out to bring much-needed stability to their lives.

The family had settled into a routine when tragedy struck again. Jim suffered a fatal heart attack and Rhonda found herself in the position of caring for two growing boys on a monthly $700 disability check. Never one to quit, Rhonda tried everything to trim expenses. Her biggest fear was that she would lose her house and her grandsons would become wards of the state.

Debbie Weliver, who helps to distribute Salvation Army funds in Montgomery County, recalls when Rhonda finally made the decision to seek help.

“She had been making it, when her husband was still alive,” Debbie explains. “Once he passed, things just got tighter and tighter. She said that the kids eat more now, because they’re getting older.”

On that first visit, it was clear that this grandmother would do anything to shield her grandchildren from another traumatic experience that would create even more stress and anxiety. Rhonda was struggling to make her mortgage payment and couldn’t fall further behind.

“When we told her we could help, she cried. She was so appreciative for it,” recalls Debbie.

The money Rhonda received from The Salvation Army helped to keep her family together while she worked to get assistance for the boys. Debbie knew that it would be a struggle for a few months, so she encouraged Rhonda to come back again if she found herself in another tight spot. Just a few weeks later, Rhonda took Debbie up on her offer and came back for help purchasing groceries.

During her visit, Debbie found out that Rhonda also had an overdue electric bill that was haunting her. Thanks to generous donations that had come in earlier in the year, Debbie had enough Salvation Army funds to help Rhonda for a second time.

“We went above and beyond for her because she was put in a hard predicament,” she explains, recalling a chance meeting several weeks later when Rhonda expressed her gratitude once more through tears. This time, though, they were the tears of a grandmother with hope for brighter days ahead.