Debbie Canty

We are always here

“I met LEFSA in 2004.  I’d been staying at New Providence Women’s Shelter and was on my way to sign out, and I heard gospel songs, like my mom used to sing.  Sr. Dorothy walked up to me and invited me in.  The gathering gave me peace.  I was hooked after that—she would invite me to the Women’s Group and Leadership Study Day.  I completed EOP in 2005 and she called me around that time, saying that the team was talking and wanted me to join them.  I said, ‘I can’t do what you do!’  And she said, ‘Weren’t you homeless?  Just tell people what God did for you and He will do that for others.’

“As a team member I go to shelters, Women’s Group and Leadership Study Day.  The shelters are the best part—being there as someone who cares, someone to listen to the people.  When their faces light up, I get it… I want to pass it on to someone else.

“LEFSA is special in the hope that we give to people, and that we are always here.  In Franklin [Women’s Intake Shelter], people are just coming in with what’s on their back.  Through the gratitude that people have, they really minister to me to be grateful for what I’ve got.  This keeps me going—when I was sick, the women at the shelter nurtured me.  Franklin was one of my first shelters.  I remember how scared I was, tears falling down, God why me.  What I’ve learned from this experience is to be humble, and that’s how I saw God in action.  One day at a time.  What LEFSA taught me is staying in the now.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift—that’s why they call it the present.  God just wants the best for us… I understand it better.  I am a better person because of LEFSA.  This organization teaches you critical thinking.  Like Sr. Dorothy said, I accept the consequences of my actions.”

—Debbie Canty

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Debbie Canty