The Greatest Gift


The presents under the Christmas tree glittered before Talaya’s eyes. She was dazzled. She arrived at Oliver Gospel’s center for women and children, Toby’s Place, with nothing but the clothes on her back and her 4-month-old daughter, having spent her entire pregnancy homeless. She was exhausted. She craved consistency for her daughter and herself.


As a child, Talaya was abused and neglected by her parents. By 15, she was placed in foster care. Consistency was a luxury she never had. As an adult, Talaya turned to substance abuse to numb the pain and cope with her past. When her daughter was born, she knew she had to do whatever it took to care for her.


Maybe I will find consistency here, Talaya thought, as she walked up the stairs to her new room. A few weeks later, at the Toby’s Place Christmas party, Talaya was handed one of the presents that had caught her eye on her first day. Tears instantly welled up in her eyes.


“I never expected to get anything for Christmas … Everyone here welcomed me and my child … I have never been given so much in my life.”

Talaya looked around the room full of smiling faces and laughter and knew she had found a home that gave her the consistency she was seeking.

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