Tom’s Story

Join Tom in Giving Back this #GivingTuesday

tom-gt-1-update“When I was at my lowest, there were people – complete strangers – that believed in me. They really went to bat for me. I was, literally, the luckiest man in the world.”

Sometimes, perspective is everything. For Tom Church, living on the streets of Milwaukee changed not only how he sees homelessness – it changed his belief in people and service. Today, his happiest holiday moments happen when he brings his friends and family together to buy presents for low-income families through our Adopt-A-Family campaign.

Before homelessness, Tom’s life as a division manager for a sales department seemed unshakable. He was successful, independent, and at the top of his game. But just as is it with most of us, one or two speed bumps down can send you careening off what you thought was your path to happiness. For Tom, that speed bump involved addiction. Soon enough, Tom’s habits lost him his job, his home, and most of his relationships.

“It was miserable. I had the toughest time trying to find cash around the city to get loaded and find an empty place to sleep in winter.”

After a number of years on the streets, Tom did find hope – but he needed a little help. Through a number of social services throughout Milwaukee, he was able to find sobriety, healthcare, even a home. Tom recognized just how crucial it was for strangers to care about him – a concept that was solidified in his mind after a heart  attack that left him clinically dead for almost an hour,

“If it weren’t for these people, I wouldn’t be here today. In every sense of the word, I have owe my life to people who didn’t give up on me.”

tom-gt-2And so today, with a home and a future ahead of him, Tom is giving back. Tom is working with his friends and family to donate gifts to two families at our Maskani Place housing program in Milwaukee.

“Ever since I got back on my own, I knew I had to give back. I’ve got a couple of extra bucks, and I know what it’s like when you have nothing. You’ve got to give back.”

This #Giving Tuesday, join Tom in giving back to those who need it most. Today, we have three different drives that you can continue to give to throughout the holiday season.

Adopt-A-Family

The Adopt-A-Family campaign provides gifts and basic necessities to those in need during the holidays. This toy and goods drive serves participants in all of our programs – from refugees to the homeless, and from people living with HIV to low income single parents. Check out our online store to help provide the resources needed to check off these wishlists! Click here!

Harvest for Hope

Harvest for Hope seeks to collaborate with local organizations to collect food and personal care products for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. With the help of the local community, we’ve provided nutritious food for more than 12 million meals in the past 25 years.  Last year, Harvest for Hope helped make sure pantries were stocked for 1400 people during the holiday season.

Email Sally at sberkhia@heartlandalliance.org to start your own Harvest for Hope food drive!

Refugee and Immigrant Community Services Winter Clothes Drive

“We’ve helped over 400 refugees escape war, terror, and persecution this year alone –but getting here is only half the battle. With winter on our heels, we need to make sure these families are ready for the cold.” – Jay Landau, Director of Education and Program Development

Our RICS team does great work – and right now they are in need of winter jackets, boots, coats, gloves, scarves for newly arrived refugee families including sizes for men, women and children. All items can be dropped off at our office at 4419 N. Ravenswood Ave.  Please contact Jay Landau at jlandau@heartlandalliance.org for more information.