Before Kristy Bingham decided to stay at the KCEOC Women’s and Children’s Emergency Support Shelter she faced uncertainty, fear, and difficult decisions that no longer only affected her, but also her unborn child. Kristy was five months pregnant with her son, Levi, and found herself alone, “I remember being so scared and worried about where in the world I was going to get everything I needed for a new baby. I was just so worried about finding a home for my baby. All the while, my entire life was falling apart. To say the least, I was a complete wreck.”

Kristy says her relationship with Levi’s father had taken a turn for the worse after being with him for six years. She called off the relationship, causing her to leave and look for a new place to live. However, as she describes it, “I didn’t have a lot of family in the picture at the time, and found myself homeless.” Kristy learned through the community, and her aunt KCEOC had a place she could stay and they had helped other people in similar situations.

Kristy’s stay in the shelter lasted three and a half months. She says she received helped via getting transportation back and forth to her doctor appointments, the local WIA office, and the library in an effort of finding a job. Kristy also received aid from KCEOC helping her receive HUD, and paying for her utility connection fees once she found her new home. She says KCEOC helped her in other ways, too, adding “KCEOC showed me that even though they aren’t family, they care and you’re not alone. It means so much to be going through something so horrible, and you look at someone that doesn’t even know you, but yet they have tears in their eyes right along with you.”

Kristy’s life after she left the shelter was completely unrecognizable in comparison to the one she lived when she entered. “When I got to the shelter I only had the clothes on my back and a few bags.” She now has her own home, vehicle, a job, and peace of mind knowing things are now better for her and her son. “I look around and I have absolutely everything and anything I need to take care of him.” She has also reconnected with her own father and has strengthened her faith saying she has now regained her relationship with Christ.

 When asked about her time and thoughts on KCEOC Kristy said, “KCEOC definitely is a bittersweet place for me. Bitter – because, let's face it - no one ever wants to be homeless, but sweet as they absolutely did so much for me. I am scared to think where I would be without KCEOC. I know they have played such a major role in helping me have my baby safe today. I care very much about the people of KCEOC and I feel it is a great part of our community. It’s a wonderful place to receive help when you find yourself in bad place in life.”

Kristy says she’s now happiest when she’s spending time with her son, “I am the happiest when he is lying on my chest asleep or when he has just woken up and he wants to give me kisses; or after I get him out of the tub and he always gives himself kisses in the mirror.” She says she plans on continuing to better herself for not only herself, but for her son. She also aims to be a Kindergarten Teacher, as she has always loved working with children. She wants to own her own home by the time Levi is five, and wants to take him on a vacation every year. With KCEOC’s help Kristy was able to stay determined and persevere through a time many would have given up and lost hope. Life can be difficult and has a way of knocking everyone down. It makes it easier though, when there’s a helping hand there helping you stand back up.