The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A hand-up, not a handout

Churches provide the needy tools to escape poverty

It was like being in a pit and never being able to get out," says Lois Shillet, recalling the dominoes of misfortune that tumbled her family into homelessness in 1994.

Shillet's abusive husband left abruptly when she developed cancer 10 years ago. But the strength that enabled her to conquer cancer also made her determined to provide for her two daughters, Carlie and Courtney, and her son, Willie. For six years she eked a living from several part-time jobs.

"I made enough money to feed the kids but never for the house payment, and it went into foreclosure," Shillet says. A longtime member of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Scottsdale, Ariz., Shillet got back on her feet with the help of Lutherans. Today she works as a bookkeeper and owns a four-bedroom home.

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February issue


Embracing diversity