It seemed Ebony Rhodes’ life could not get worse. Her two jobs did not provide enough money to rent a home so she, along with her four children, lived and slept in her old car. Her youngest child battled Lupus, one of her sons needed treatment for serious burns and the four children regularly missed school due to their unstable situation. Surprisingly, her recent arrest by the Atlanta Police Department didn’t completely ruin her family’s life. Instead, it totally transformed it.
Ebony Rhodes was pulled over by an Atlanta police officer for driving with an expired tag and was then arrested when it was discovered she had a suspended license and no insurance. When the officer who arrested Ebony discovered that Ebony and her children were in fact living out of the car, she immediately told deputy chief Jeff Glazier and other officers about this family’s sad plight.
Upon hearing the news, Jeff, a dedicated Christian, decided to take immediate action. He began calling shelters and by a miracle found one that had room for the entire family. This was no small feat given the fact that Atlanta shelters rarely have room for large families in the winter; in fact, Ebony had called a number of shelters seeking a place to stay and was told that her only option was for her family to split up between two different places.
Jeff’s simple act of kindness in helping Ebony find a place to stay with her children touched her deeply; however, it was just the beginning of an outpouring of kindness from the police department and the entire community.
Ebony didn’t know it at the time, but Jeff Glazier had far more in mind than simply providing a needy family with temporary shelter. Realizing that living out of a homeless shelter is not a long-term solution for a single parent with children who need medical care and attention, Jeff and other police officers helped Ebony rent an apartment for her family.
The police department then started a GoFundMe campaign for Ebony so that she would have savings to fall back on if she cannot work due to ongoing health problems. The campaign has raised over $59,000 to date, providing Ebony with funds needs for rent, transportation, medicine and food so she and her family are not at risk of becoming homeless once again.
Ebony Rhodes still faces challenges. Her daughter, who has Lupus, is also partially blind in one eye. One son has both asthma and a number of developmental challenges. Another son juggles high school and work in order to contribute to the family’s finances.
At the same time, Ebony has health challenges of her own. While she has held down a number of jobs to support her family, she frequently has to take time off work. When this happens, she doesn’t have benefits to fall back on and she doesn’t get paid.
Even so, her life has drastically changed for the better. Her four children are able to attend school regularly and are all studying hard. Ebony has a job as an assistant manager of a fast food restaurant. Best of all, she also has a circle of friends she can depend on when the going gets rough. She is no longer a single mom trying to eke out a living for her family on her own. She recently noted that the Atlanta Police Department has become like family to her and her children due to many officers’ care and dedication to seeing her succeed long-term.
As Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier recently noted, whatever we do for the least of these, we do to Jesus. Recent statistics show that there are over 176,000 homeless people living in the United States. While many of these individuals live in shelters, tens of thousands are living out of their cars. Parents like Ebony stay up all night watching over sleeping children and their belongings, wondering what the next day will bring and hoping they will someday be able to find a way out.
While changing the life of one single mom and her four children may seem small considering the vast need, it’s a great place to start. This story is a touching reminder of what a small group of caring people can do when stepping beyond obligations to help a needy individual with his or her struggles.
~ Christian Patriot Daily