Deaconess Nurse Ministry Provides Hope, Help in Desperate Situation

One late afternoon, Deaconess Nurse Ministry, based in St Louis, Mo., received a phone call from a case worker who was trying to help Ms. M, a 65-year-old woman living in her car. The case worker told Deaconess about Ms. M’s case — she was trying to get her into a shelter before the dangerously cold winter months arrived. Ms. M also had some health issues and needed many other resources. Deaconess set up an appointment for Ms. M to meet with a Deaconess nurse, from whom she was also able to get food assistance.

After checking on her health and talking about her situation, the nurse found that Ms. M also was a victim of identity theft; additionally, the IRS had somehow mistakenly declared her as deceased. Because of this, Ms. M could not receive any benefits from the government. Even during the current COVID-19 crisis, where other people were receiving stimulus checks, Ms. M did not. This is one of the reasons that she was homeless and living in her car.

The Deaconess nurse gave Ms. M resources for food assistance, made referrals to places she can go to shower and do laundry, as well as a few places that she can apply to for affordable housing — specifically, places that would allow her to bring her dog, the only emotional support she has. There was one small problem: because Ms. M was living in her car, and driving uses gas, she could not afford to pay for her important medications.

Through one of its programs for older adults, Deaconess Nurse Ministry was able to purchase gas cards so Ms. M could drive to places to apply for benefits. It also was able to make a one-time payment for her medication.

“Deaconess Nurse is so wonderful in getting things done right away,” said Ms. M. “[The nurse, Reta,] got approval for my gas cards and had them the next day for me to pick up, which was amazing. She was willing to meet me at a convenient location. She gave me so many helpful referrals. I was amazed and grateful for Deaconess Nurse Ministry. Nurse Reta is so great. I can see that her heart is in her work, she really cares about her clients. She loves her job, loves to help people in need.”

There are many people like Ms. M out there who, sometimes, just need someone to lend a hand to keep them safe, healthy, and change their life forever.

Deaconess Nurse Ministry currently is running a special “Cold Weather Appeal” for donations geared to helping people like Ms. M.

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