Former Adopt a Family recipient now helping others - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Former Adopt a Family recipient now helping others

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Stephanie Meister and her family know what it is like to need help from the Adopt a Family program. Two years ago, her family was the ones in need.

"It was kind of heartbreaking," said Meister. "We had been homeless and we had to borrow money from my grandmother to get into a place."

That left no money left for Christmas. She was able to turn to the Salvation Army and the Adopt a Family program.

"It was very heartfelt to be able to provide my children with something I would not have been able to provide them with."

Meister's life has gotten better. This Christmas, she found herself with a little extra cash. She knew what she wanted to do with it. She's helping someone else's family through the holidays. "I know everybody needs help at one point in their life."

Meister's story gives Libby Unruh, Social Services Director at the Salvation Army in South Bend, some hope. "When a family is able to get back on their feet and then pay it forward, it just means that we are really touching lives in ways that I can't really even imagine," said Unruh.

The Salvation Army connected Meister with a family similar to hers. Her boys helped pick the gifts for some other little boys in need. Stephanie hopes what she's doing for others will rub off on her children. "Tried to explain to the boys this isn't for you, this is for the other little boys who couldn't get what you are getting this year."

This likely won't be the last time Meister helps. "If we have the funds to do it, we will definitely do this again."

Drop-off for this year's Adopt a Family program is Friday at the Kroc Center in South Bend. Families in need will be picking them up on Saturday.

It's not too late to help. The Salvation Army says the best way is to donate via one of the many red kettles set up at area stores.

FOX28 is proud to be a part of the Adopt a Family program.

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