Adrianna’s life changed the day her family came to the Bristol Corps’ Food Pantry for a bag of food. That’s the way she sees it. Her family had been struggling with homelessness for several years, and with the incredible stress of not having a place to call home, Adrianna had fallen behind in school; she couldn’t keep up with her peers academically, and her grades were a disaster. “I was a lost girl scared of what my life was going to be,” Adrianna shares. “I was so depressed and angry.” But that request for one bag of groceries changed everything.
On that fateful day, during intake for the Food Pantry, Adrianna, who was 15 at the time, was invited to attend The Salvation Army’s Creative Arts and Music Academy (CAM). This program provides creative arts and Brass music instruction, along with academic support, to underprivileged youth in Bristol, free of charge.
At first, Adrianna was hesitant to attend CAM, but, with some encouragement, she decided to give it a try. “The Salvation Army Corps Officers were very patient with me. They helped me overcome my emotions and see life in a different way,” Adrianna says. And that patience really made a difference. Much to her surprise, Adrianna soon discovered she had musical abilities she never knew she had. As Adrianna developed these abilities, she also worked hard to catch up at school.
The Salvation Army encouraged Adrianna to compete in its Divisional Star Search competition this past Spring, where she won first place. She went on to compete in the Territorial Star Search competition, with participants from 12 other states. Adrianna took home third place! Not only that, but her grades had improved dramatically.
Adrianna is now working her first part-time job this summer right in The Salvation Army’s building and preparing to apply for college. Having a job at the age of 16 and preparing for college are two things she just hadn’t seen for herself. Two things that she firmly believes would not have happened had she not come in for that bag of food with her mom that day. She tells us, “I’ve become a new me, a changed me, a BETTER me. I don’t know where I’d be without them today.”
“One thing I know for sure,” Captain Shareena Echavarria, the Corps Officer at the Bristol Corps professes, “is that you should never doubt the power of a bag of groceries given out in Jesus’ name. I believe wholeheartedly that while we may have only met a physical need on that specific day, He eventually filled a spiritual and emotional need for Adrianna by providing her a place of respite. A place where she could feel safe, be fed, learn new skills, and grow. I look forward to seeing her develop in her skills as she grows!”