It was a year of continual loss for Bianca in 2019. Her sister died in May. She gave birth to a premature son in mid-July, only to lose him Sept. 26. Three days later and on her birthday, she was evicted from her Section 8 housing, her mother took her two older children and her car was stolen.
Left with nobody and nothing, Bianca let bad habits and addiction take over her life because she “couldn’t deal with all the bad stuff that was going on in my life, so I numbed all the pain with meth and alcohol.”
Living on the streets and feeling desperately alone, Bianca believed she had nothing to live for, so she was slowly killing herself through her addictions.
Most might not consider it a blessing to be sleeping on a friend’s couch when police come to the door, but Bianca does. She was arrested one night in early January 2020 when she refused to tell the police who lived at the house. With outstanding warrants, she was taken into custody. A few weeks later, she was out of jail.
“I was absolutely broken. I had just gotten out of jail the 28th of January and I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Bianca recalls. “I messed up so much with everybody that I had no place to go. I called 211 for shelters and they gave me St. Anthony Family Shelter’s number first.”
Bianca made the call and the staff at St. Anthony’s welcomed her into the shelter. Her two young children soon joined her, and her life started to turn around.
“They started with zero, literally; she had no ID, no prospects – she was lost, but willing to do whatever it would take to get her family back in order,” recalls Shaun Estrada, the case manager who worked with Bianca. “For me she is a success story because she is clean, she is employed, and she has a two-bedroom house for her family.”
Collaboration between various Catholic Charities ministries and community partners helped Bianca find sobriety, a full-time job and a fully-furnished, rent-subsidized house that her family can settle into for five years.
“I was such a bad mother,” Bianca says. “But I was blessed with the second chance; I’m so grateful and I’m not ever going to take that for granted. I am forever going to remember everybody there for everything they did for me and my family. I feel like a new woman and I owe that really to St. Anthony Family Shelter.”
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St. Joseph Pastoral Center
437 North Topeka st.
Wichita. KS 67202-2431
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Wichita is a 501(c)(3). All gifts are tax-deductible.
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316-264-8344 ext. 1262
The Wichita Diocese covers 20,021 square miles and includes 25 counties in the southeast corner of the state. It is home to over 114,000 Catholics in 90 parishes.