Below are testimonies of some of the women who have found an apartment home at Helping Hands. It is a pleasure to introduce these wonderful ladies to you.

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“I am a victim of violence. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and my life was a very lonely dark place. Recently I and my daughter (age 4) were rescued by Helping Hands, and now have a safe place to live. I love the devotions they have. Today the dear Lord shows me how to walk. Miracles happen around me all the time. With God all things are possible!”  – T.A. (names are abbreviated to protect their identity)

“I was always looking for that perfect love but always picked alcoholics and abusive men. I and my son (age 6) were in a horrible situation and then I found Helping Hands, and they gave us a safe place to live. The love of God shines through everyone there, they truly care. I would like to someday help others in trouble or need.” – M.A.

“I was depressed and confused, and pregnant from a bad choice in relationships. I needed guidance and help so I could keep my unborn daughter. At Helping Hands my young son and I gave ourselves to the Lord. God has given me peace, and taken away my fears and worries. I was truly blessed to find Helping Hands and to stay here. It’s like another family. They don’t judge you because of things in your past. In the future I want to work in the medical field, perhaps as an LPN.” – T.C.

“I got into drugs at 15 and went the wrong way. I’ve been hospitalized various times from suicidal attempts and overdoses. I lost my family’s trust and respect. I like the sincere help Helping Hands gives you, the encouragement, and helping me develop my relationship with God. I believe in His love for me as His child and that He has a purpose for me.” – R.L.

“I started using drugs and alcohol at a young age and had a difficult childhood. At 21 I was raped by 3 men and left for dead… and went downhill living in “the streets” for the next 25 years. I came to Helping Hands and they gave me shelter, a job, love and compassion. I love the morning devotionals. God has changed my life from hopeless to hopeful. I want to go back to school and get my GED now.” – B.J.

“I had a mentally ill abusive mother. I never had a healthy relationship. Turned to drugs and drinking. I became a liar and was selfish, hateful, and promiscuous. I hit rock bottom, turned to God, and He brought me to Helping Hands. I now have a safe place for me and my 8 year old daughter. I am changing fast…God has taken away my “want” for drugs and alcohol, and changed the way I dress, talk, the way I treat people, and more. Now I’m joyful, and have a “pep” in my step.” – C.A.

Helping Hands provides housing and assists with food, clothing, medical, transportation, jobs, and more…. for women and children in need. They also offer weekday devotionals and other Christian-based support opportunities. 

I came to Marion County 3 years ago to live with my daughter.  After a very tumultuous year I decided I needed help in coping with life and voluntarily committed myself into the Centers, a mental health and rehabilitation facility.  I successfully completed an 8 month intensive therapy program.  Upon completion having no residence I was accepted in the Salvation Army lodging program for indigents.  I remained there for one month.

In late May of 2009 I was introduced by one of the counselors at the Salvation Army to someone from Helping Hands.  He told me of a plan he and some of his associates had for a foundation to help benefit homeless and indigent people.  One of these benefits was an apartment complex in need of renovation.  I was offered a residence at this complex.

The people at Helping Hands, through their kind guidance and patience allowed me to regain my self-esteem and to realize my total worth as a human being.  I will always be eternally grateful for all the many blessings I have received from the caring folks at Helping Hands. –NC

I’m the child of a deaf adult.  Abused as a child.  Never met my real dad.  When I was 18 my life fell apart when my grandfather passed away.  That’s when I lost my faith.  My walk with God.  I hated the world.  Started to drink heavy and drugging.

Got sent to jail and the greatest thing happened to me.  I found God again.  Asked for His forgiveness and my prayer was answered.  Got out.  Me and my wife were homeless, sleeping in our truck.  Then my wife got real sick, she was in the emergency room and I got a call from a man at Helping Hands and he came to talk to us.  Brought us to Cascade Oaks, their apartment building.

They gave me a chance to become the man that God would have me be.  Showing me hope, guidance, and trust.  They have become the family to me and I’m truly grateful. –CR

I’ve made a lot of bad choices in my life that resulted in more than twenty years of incarceration in a number of federal and state prisons.  I was addicted to drugs and alcohol.  However, trying to re-capture the high life and the “good times” is useless… and never met my expectations.  It’s like searching for gold at the end of a rainbow.  It ain’t never there!

I had just been discharged from a detox center in Tampa when a buddy gave me a message from a friend of mine who lived in Ocala.  I returned my friends call and he invited me to Ocala.  He knew about Helping Hands… so, one thing led to another and I ended up with a ready made family.

They took me in like an old stray dog with the mange, helped me with food, clothes and a heaping helping of encouragement.  I have a roof over my head, access to medical care, Bible devotion every morning, movies, and get-togethers on a regular basis and have people who have made it their mission to make a difference to those of us others might shun.  I personally take my hat off to everyone involved in Helping Hands. –PH

A young woman wrote:  “….my life seemed hopeless…. I suffered with much confusion and desperation… I began drinking very heavily.  I came to understand that if I did not change… my suffering would lead me to my death.  After becoming a homeless mother I began to feel all hope was lost.

In that darkest time of desperation I met an angel of a man….and with lots of God’s mercy shining down in that moment he gave me a place to call home and an abundance of hope.  God has truly blessed me more than I could have imagined or deserved.  Our Father is with us always and He shall be our strength and hope when we feel we have none…that nothing is too big for our God.

The people of Helping Hands have been my light in the darkness…they have shown me guidance, understanding, and love.  We will be forever thankful for their help. –CA

I lost my job and lost my home because of no money.  Then I met (one of the people staying at the Helping Hands apartment building, Cascade Oaks) and he helped me overcome my fear at being on the street (and helped me get into Cascade Oaks).

I started attending (their daily Bible study and fellowship) which helps me get closer to the Lord. –HJ

I was raised in a loving but somewhat cold family.  Hard work and hard partying had been a long family tradition.  I was raised a Christian but felt it to be a chore rather than a joy.  I learned to cope with constant pain by drinking and later drugging.  After learning that God loves me, and has a great plan for me, through 12-step programs, my spirituality grew.  I became an RN, a husband, and a father by living a clean and Godly life.  Then I gave so much, depleted my resources, took my will back and used alcohol and drugs again and lost almost everything and everyone.

I found out about Helping Hands through a 12 step friend.  I had been out of jail from a dui for about a month and needed a clean, spiritual living environment to live in.  I met a couple of guys from Helping Hands, was open and honest, and was given the privilege to move here.

I have been able to stay in a nice apartment and meet and get to know other residents with a similar path.  I was able to do volunteer work to initially pay for rent.  I am able to learn more of the Word through group meetings and one-on-one conversations with the Helping Hands supporters and residents.  I have been given practical life counseling by the Christians that work here.  They are kind and understanding.  I am learning to receive unconditional love and help here.  Thank you Jesus!! –MB

I was abused and sent through multiple group homes.  I have had trouble with the law until I found God.  I got sent to the Salvation Army and after 4 days I came here.  They have helped me with a job plus a place to live and they mean the world to me.  More than anyone would ever know. –NC

I’m fifty seven years old, born and raised in Ocala.  I started abusing alcohol and a myriad of other drugs at the age of 15.  I did do other things that were productive but the alcohol and other negative things seemed to always over shadow the good.  I came from an extremely close knit family.  I couldn’t have asked for a better one to say the least.  All my habits were self induced; no one to blame but me.

I knew of a friend living or staying here and how good he was doing.  I also talked to two of the guys from Helping Hands about the program and how many others it had helped.

I’ve only been here for two weeks and my attitude is already a lot better, more positive, etc.  The people here have a really good positive outlook on things, a good Christian outlook and belief.  I’m getting a lot more focused than I was before I came.  It’s been a wonderful experience.  I’m rusty to say the least.  Everyone is extremely nice and helpful I’m very glad to be part of the program.  Thanks. –HG

I came from an upper middle class family with good morals, and values as a child.  I got lost along the way into all kinds of things such as drugs and alcohol.  As a direct result of my actions I was in and out of my addiction, prison, and institutions.  I had not been employable in over five years.  I was spiritually, physically, and mentally bankrupt.

How I came to Cascade Oaks and Helping Hands Foundation only by the grace of God.  A very good friend of mine had a lot of faith in me.  Still so, I wrote a letter from Columbia Correctional Institution and asked for help.

The Helping Hands people have done so much for me.  Their prayers, their accountability, they have even given me a job, a place to live.  All in all, they have given me hope, restored my faith in God and other people.  I have a life thanks to God and Helping Hands.

I’m not where I once was and I’m not where I would like to be in life, but I’m right where God wants me and loves me. –RR

It was truly God at work that brought us to Helping Hands, as the day we came to them for help we were on the verge of being homeless for the first time in our lives.  This was a place that neither my husband nor I had ever been before, financially or emotionally.  We got into this position without realizing the pitfalls in our previous life.  But now we are grateful for all we had to go through to bring us to our current state because we feel like we have been given a new perspective on life.

We were given the opportunity to live at Cascade Oaks at a time when we thought we would be destitute and it has enriched our lives incredibly.  The people here believed in us and what we are capable of accomplishing.  Because of their support and understanding we hope to get into a position where we can give back to others who find themselves in the same position.  Their commitment to helping persons such as us is an inspiration and truly a gift.

Helping Hands gave us the motivation to focus on the important things in life and to redirect our energies into a positive impact on the people we come into contact with daily.  We hope that the joy we feel will be spread to others.  Helping Hands gave us the resolution to toss the things that might distract us from our true path.  It has helped us to be more aware of the plight of others as we have the first hand experience of being in the desperate position many are facing in these times. –ZD