70×7 Life Recovery

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“You have no idea how much this means. I’m just going to get in my car and cry.”

As a 70×7 staff member helped bring Easter baskets to her car, “Molly” broke down and shared. She suddenly became a single mother of three young boys last summer when her husband’s arrest and conviction blindsided her. She started coming to 70×7’s Stronger Together Family Support Group last fall. She has a good job near our Grand Rapids office, but her commute is 30 minutes from home and EVERYTHING has been so overwhelming. Living on one income, legal expenses, deciding what to tell- or not tell- her 14 year old about Dad’s incarceration and protecting her 8 & 9 year old sons. Even finding a handyman to help with small house repairs was outside of her experience and she didn’t know where to go.

At 70×7’s Stronger Together group, she found a new “family” who understood. Everyone in Stronger Together has / had a loved one – husband, wife, father, mother, child, or friend who is or was on an incarceration journey that sent their world spinning. They get it – the feelings of being overwhelmed, confused, hurt, financially hit, exhausted and not always being able to share all this with most people without feeling judged. This “family” listens without judgement, provides support and encouragement and practical support – like helping Molly find a handyman or Easter baskets when money is tight for extras.

At Christmas, 70×7 was able to bless Molly’s kids at our Prayers, Purpose & Pajamas event. At Easter, 70×7 partnered again with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Together Church, Closet of Hope and with many other donors to host our 3rd annual Easter Basket Building Event on March 14. Families of the incarcerated with young children were invited to come build baskets for their kids. They received Easter eggs and candy and choose from multiple toys and games to add to their baskets. Older kids even had the option of a gift card to local stores, movie theaters or fast food restaurants thanks to generous donations from supporters. As an added bonus, we were able to bless each parent who came with a “Basket of Hope.” Baskets of Hope started with 70×7’s Restorative Hope Churches to collect a laundry basket of practical household items and cleaning products to share with graduates of our programs. We had enough generous donations from churches to give each parent their own “Easter Basket of Hope” too! Parents were just as -or- more excited than their children to get this unexpected gift! This year, we were able to bless 27 families and 79 children at this event.

When she first came to Stronger Together and 70×7, Molly was very reserved and guarded. When she left with her Easter baskets, she gave a huge hug and said she was so grateful she found 70×7 and for all we do. And then she got into her car…

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