Mary Griffin’s story depicts a way of life very familiar in the under resourced and devastated community of Englewood. Brian Anderson first met Mary while she was eating lunch at the Family Feeding Center. She shared the story of her life with him while partaking of one of the few hot meals she would have during that week. Here is her story.
It was the middle of winter 2014-15 when Mary brought Brian to the building where she was living. The building was abandoned; there was no heat, no electricity, and no running water. Using a flashlight, she showed him the boxes she had stacked in the living room containing everything she owned. In the small bedroom was a bed where she slept during the night wearing all her clothing, including her winter outer wear and about 6 blankets, always attempting to stay warm during the cold winter nights. Shepherd’s Hope purchased a sleeping bag for her to help stay warm during below-freezing temperatures at night.
Mary was attending Kennedy King College where she would spend most of the day there during the winter to stay warm. On Wednesday and Friday she would come to the Family Feeding Center (which was only a block away). Mary would come there for a warm meal and she would sit with Brian and share how things were going in her life and the ways God was walking with her each day.
About mid-winter the weather forecasters were predicting a long spell of frigid temperatures. All Brian could think about was Mary living in that abandoned building. He prayed, asking the LORD if it would be alright to offer Mary one of the rooms in the basement of the pantry during the cold spell, a place where she could stay with heat and a place where she could take a hot shower
Mary ended up staying at the pantry for about two-months during the cold spell and beyond, volunteering at the pantry between classes. About one month into her stay she received a part time job at Hope High School as part of their safe-passage program. After the end of her two-month stay with Shepherd’s Hope she moved in with her aunt. Today she has a full time job at Chicago State University, still walking with the Lord and thanking Him for what He has done in her life.
It was only because of her obedience and willingness to walk through the storms of life with her eyes focused on Him that she was lifted up. She totally trusted the LORD with her life. Through the turmoil and suffering, her relationship with the LORD grew exponentially. GOD GETS ALL THE GLORY!!!
Thank you LORD for making Shepherd’s Hope, in a small way, part of this journey.