The Ortiz Family

In January 2019, my family and I were introduced to Loaves and Fishes. Not being a native to the area, I was afraid of what to expect. I was greeted with warm smiles and reassurance of safety. Upon intake, the staff welcome my three children and gave them snacks and some items to keep them occupied. I told my story to Ms. Angie, and I felt understood and not judged based on my circumstances. During the walk-through of the building and showing my family where we would sleep, I noticed how clean and well-maintained the facility was. The other families in the shelter were friendly and welcoming. In the coming weeks, my significant other and I took Life Skills classes offered by Loaves and Fishes. These classes were terrific, and they taught me to think in a completely different way.

After some time at Loaves and Fishes, I was chosen as the House Mother. I felt honored. It made me happy to be able to make someone coming in feel welcome and not judged. We were always encouraged daily to have goals and take the steps to meet those goals. These are things that I have carried with me to this day.

When my family was selected for a rapid rehousing program, it was the best news we have received because we would find a home to call out own. A few weeks passed, and the staff informed us that it was no longer possible to be in that program. Ms. Jacki and Ms. Darie took my hands and let me know that everything would be ok, and everything will work out. They were right! We were chosen for another program and given a move-in date. Upon leaving Loaves and Fishes, they provided some household items we may need. They also helped with some furniture that was donated.

After leaving the program at Loaves and Fishes, I kept in contact with the staff. I was later employed by a Head Start program that I applied for while in the program at Loaves and Fishes. I would donate items to the {Loaves and Fishes} from time to time and let the staff know how my family was doing. We were also invited to the Christmas Party and were adopted by a family who provided us with presents for Christmas. My children were blessed this Christmas; they were so happy.

Following the things I learned in Life Skills classes, I met my goal and received my CDA (Child Development Associate), which allows me to be an Assistant Teacher in the Head Start program where I’m still employed. I will never forget the staff and Loaves and Fishes, and neither will my family. They gave us the tools to continue being successful in our lives.”

~ Jazmin Ortiz ❤️