At her lowest point, Sonya Armstead didn’t want to go on. She had contemplated giving her children up for adoption and running away from her responsibilities.
“I was at the point that I didn’t want to live any more,” Armstead said. “I wanted to give my children to somebody I thought was capable of taking care of them because I thought I was better off … they were better off without me.”
Armstead separated from her husband and moved back home to Mobile in January. She found a part-time job while living with her sister. With the job and her social security disability payments, Armstead was able to afford an apartment.
However, she lost the part-time job after her employer cut her hours back. She could no longer pay her bills.
“I couldn’t, you know, afford to keep the utilities on,” she said. “I was asked to leave by the rent man. To keep from getting evicted and having that on my record, I left.”
Armstead and her children, 12-year-old Jovan’tae Grover and 10-year-old Nakeria Grover, were forced to live together in a Dodge Avenger she parked overnight at a local truck stop.
“Living out of a trunk was hard,” she recalled last month. “It just wasn’t right. I hate even reliving it.”
The nights were a lot tougher than the days for Armstead, who mainly watched over her children as they slept.
“A lot of times I didn’t sleep because I worried more about my kids,” she said. “You know, just making sure they were all right.”
Armstead’s luck would change when she was told the Salvation Army’s Family Haven had room available for the three of them. After nearly three months at the facility and a new job at the Malaga Inn, Armstead said she feels ready to take on the challenges of life again.
“Since I’ve been here I got the material, the tools,” she said. “I feel once I walk out that door I’m going to be ready for whatever life throws at me.”
Recently. the family found a new apartment and Nakeria said she’s already picked out a room. Neither she nor Javon’tae lost faith in their mother through all of the issues.
“She needed help with stuff and I was kind of sad because I wish I could help her,” Javon’tae said. “I wish I were grown and had a job.”
Javon’tae, who is a two-way player for the Prichard Cowboys, said when he grows up he would like to play for the Dallas Cowboys, or become an artist. Nakeria said she wants to be a doctor.
The Armstead family are one of many families who will be helped by donations to The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama’s “Our Family” campaign, a fundraising partnership between Lagniappe and The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama. Please send donations to The Salvation Army – Our Families, 1009 Dauphin St., Mobile, Alabama 36604.
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