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Born and raised in Albany, Michael had been aware of City Mission, although never imagined it was
somewhere he himself would end up. In the midst of the pandemic, Michael lost his job, his home,
andmost of his personal property. With only a suitcase of belongings to his name, he walked down the driveway on Christmas Eve, not knowing where else to turn.Reflecting on this time in his life, Michael shared, "It was as though everything came together at the same time in the worst possible way."

Michael wasn't expecting to be at City Mission for long. He simply needed a place to stay, a hot meal, and time to make a plan. Through seeing what friends like you make possible here each day, however, this began to change into a desire for more. Michael entered our Bridges to Freedom program and his journey of transformation began. He shared,

"I came here an unbeliever, a skeptic. I was asked to keep an open mind and open heart. and I'm not the same man I was when I walked down that driveway. After seeing the possibility, the transformation, the LOVE…how could I not believe God is responsible for this?"

With your support, time in the program, and the formation of strong, trusting relationships with staff and mentors, Michael learned his most impactful lesson: How and when to ask for help. He became dedicated to making a change in his life and had access to the tools to do so because of friends like you. Michael was able to grow, give back, and be an example for others.

"I could offer encouragement to others. It became a family. A constant series of interactions where no one has to be by themselves, trying to do this on their own. I’ve had other residents see how far I have come and 'I can do that.'"

The growth of a relationship with God led to a change in perspective, one that opened the door to many opportunities for Michael. He spent time giving back in our laundry room, providing clean clothes and bedding for our men's shelter. Michael then started serving as an Ambassador, offering help and a friendly face to our community. Soon he became a well-loved employee of our Thrift Store. Michael made great progress, uncovered his passion, and continued building a meaningful life.

"Whether it’s at the Thrift Store or through another opportunity, I just want to help people in the way that I was helped. I want to let them know they have to hold on to hope, make and maintain connections, and not take things for granted. Once you start to sink a bit, someone at City Mission will help hold you up while you regain your strength. I want my future to be here, helping others."

Most inspiring to Michael throughout his journey was learning that it is the care of an entire community that makes the multiple ministries of City Mission possible. The more he saw the impact of donors, partners, community members and residents coming together, the more his motivation grew to continue on his newfound path. Your generosity helped Michael become a changed man… with a grateful heart. He shared,

“I am an example of what your generosity and faith in God and City Mission accomplishes. People can come here and not have to worry about where their next meal will come from or if they will have to find somewhere to stay on the street. I want to say how immensely grateful I am for everything I have received and continue to receive here. This is a life changing experience, and I do not say that lightly."

Thank you for giving Michael, and so many others, the opportunity to experience God’s transformative love. He will be remembered in our hearts and in our Ministry.

*Names and photos are occasionally changed to protect the privacy of our residents, but this a real story of someone you have helped.*