*Holly's Story


At the Golf Outing, graduating Fellowship Housing mom, *Holly, vulnerably and bravely shared her journey and how Fellowship Housing has helped her family to get where they are today.

Single mother of 3 beautiful children, Holly found herself relocating to Illinois from Virginia with her now ex-husband. Moving away from family and friends, she was fully dependent on him for her needs as she stayed home with the kids. In his new job, her husband began making more money than he ever had before. He bought a luxury car, changed his hair and clothes and became a different person than the one she had known and married. While he was enjoying new luxuries, Holly struggled with him to provide money for groceries, gas and other necessities.

Things escalated as he became an alcoholic, turned abusive, declared he hadn’t been ready to become a father and moved out.

Holly had begun working part-time but was unable to afford their home on her own. And she felt especially alone with no family in Illinois to turn to. With no savings, and low income her independent housing options were non-existent. Holly and her kids stayed in hotels, friends’ homes, shelters and even a tent at a campground. Holly applied for free legal aide, hoping that if she received child support that she could make ends meet. But when her ex did not show for the proceedings, the judge was unable to give a complete ruling. While she was awarded full custody and granted a divorce, the judge was unable to rule on child support, alimony or division of assets. When all hope seemed lost, Holly found Fellowship Housing online.

Holly began working full-time and learned the importance of budgeting and living within her means. CARS Ministry helped her get a reliable car and Food For Friends provided groceries, Thanksgiving meals and bowling nights for the kids. Thanks to the debt retirement program at Fellowship, Holly was able to become debt-free within 6 months of entering the program! She has increased her annual income by $2000, raised her credit score by 40 points and saved over $40,000! Her biggest goal on completing the program is to purchase a home - a stable place where her kids can feel safe and call it their own.

Reflecting on her two years at Fellowship Housing, Holly shared, “I am incredibly grateful to Fellowship Housing, more than words can express. They have empowered and encouraged me to be the best I can be and have truly changed our lives. I look forward to the day I can give back to these organizations that have given my family so much. Thank you for supporting this wonderful organization. Your donations provide so much more than a roof over our heads and a safe place to call home. They help provide an opportunity for a future worth looking forward to.”

*name changed in the interest of privacy

Courtney Burton