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Tina - October 2021

My wife and I stopped at a McDonald’s for a coffee. The dining area was closed. “Covid?” I asked. The general manager who was windexing plexiglas shook her head. “No. We just can’t get anyone to work.” Even with $13/hour to start and a guaranteed raise after 90 days, they’re struggling to hire or get employees to show up.

I fear this generation has disconnected from the truth of Genesis 1, 5, and 9 that we are made in God’s image—and unless we understand who He is, we’ll fail to know who we’re intended to be. Though there are endless characteristics to study, one of the most striking is that God is a producer, not a consumer. Yet, as more people prioritize consumption over production, we not only lose the products we enjoy consuming, but more tragically, people lose their dignity and identity as mini-producers made in His image. It’s an especially acute problem among those who become dependent on government assistance. How great it is to meet people like Tina who have resisted dependency and understand the importance of contribution.

After her apartment was condemned, Tina lost her teenage son and found herself homeless. With nowhere else to turn, she came to Watered Gardens. At the mission and especially the Worth Shop, Tina not only engaged in meaningful work for her bed and meals, but also developed meaningful relationships with our staff. This combination of productivity and community played a critical role in restoring her independence and reclaiming her son from foster care. Though she’s busy today as a full-time worker and mom, she still occasionally visits the Worth Shop to supplement her income.

“Working and living across town, I’m not able to get over to the shop very often, but always enjoy my time there. With a hungry teenager, I can use the extra food, but even if I didn’t need something, I’d still like going just for the friendship. That’s worth more than any food or clothing that can be earned.”

Thank you for your support. Your partnership is reminding people like Tina that they are made in the image of God.

James Whitford,

Co-Founder and Executive Director

P.S. To help people like Tina with busy schedules, our grocery and thrift stores are now offering evening hours by appointment. Learn more at