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SAMMinistries working to end childhood homelessness, break cycle of poverty in San Antonio

On average, the organization helps more than 2,000 children every year.

SAN ANTONIO — SAMMinistries is seeing more children and their families experiencing homelessness and is reaching out to the community to help change lives. 

Maria Garza and her son hopped from one shelter to the next for nearly seven years. "We lived in a car for the first month of his life," Garza said. "We had nowhere to go, nowhere." 

One day, Garza said a staff member at Haven For Hope said they didn't have the space for her and her son, but suggested to turn to SAMMinistries. 

They were welcomed into SAMMinistries Transitional Living and Learning Center in December 2017.

Today, Garza and her son are living in their own apartment. Garza received her high school diploma and enrolled in the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) program and successfully graduated. Her next step is to pass her state exam and receive her CNA license. 

"They give you two years, and you can do so much in two years here," Garza said. 

Last year, SAMMinistries served 4,377 people and nearly 3,800 received housing assistance. On average, the organization helps more than 2,000 children every year.

"That's almost half of the people who are touched by our programs. We want to make sure that we're making a difference for kids," Nikisha Baker, SAMMinistries' Chief Development Officer said.

On Thursday, during the Big Give event happening across South Texas, SAMMinistries will be pushing a campaign to end childhood homelessness in San Antonio and break the cycle of poverty. 

"Take every second and do what you have to do for your own life," Garza said. "There are places for you, you just have to reach out and find them."