WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — This week is Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, and it's estimated that one in six people are food insecure in Palm Beach County.
Front line nonprofits like The Lord's Place say hunger and homelessness go hand-and-hand, and they're encouraging people to participate in the discussion at the breakfast table.
You can call Theresa Michelle a creative. She has juggled being a mom, business professional and singer.
In 2017 she put out her first music video for the song, "Testimony."
"I didn't just wallow in life's problems," she said.
Theresa Michelle wore many hats and reaped the rewards.
"I used to live in a five-bedroom house with a pool on the lake and just — traumatic stuff happened down the course of my life, and it put me on the other end of the spectrum," she said.
First, she had a stroke and then in December 2020, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
"I had all of my abilities removed from me," she said. "I was at the top of my game, and then I couldn't do anything."
It was while in rehabilitation that Michelle wrote a book about her journey, entitled "And Then I Opened My Eyes: A Memoir of How I was Able to Finally See God."
"If you're a person that needs perseverance — you read my book, and I think it will help you get from the place you are to a different place. If not physically, mentally," she said.
She was a new author but still in recovery facing obstacles.
"To move into a place you have to have an income, and you have to have a certain amount of money," Michelle said.
She went to The Lord's Place seeking housing like so many facing life-altering transitions amid the pandemic.
"Really the people we see are the people who are just in need of help — the you's and me's of the world," said Anne Noble, The Lord’s Place chief advancement officer. "The people who have fallen on rough times because of pandemic, job loss or health concerns. And so the pandemic has opened our eyes to is it can happen to anyone."
This is why on Thursday the public is invited to join The Lord's Place for its 14th annual Ending Homelessness Breakfast at 8:30 a.m.
The virtual event will provide a "portrait of the paradox" and will feature first-hand accounts with the goal of raising $250,000 to support Lord's Place mission.
This year's theme is "clearing the way.'
"We encourage companies, adults, children, schools, college — everyone to be able to attend and watch," Noble said.
It is helping people like Michelle, who is now working toward her business administration degree at Palm Beach State College with a new testimony. The nontraditional student said she;s relishing being back in school and preparing for her next chapter.
"I think God put me in the right place to strengthen me," she said. "I do want to transform lives. That's what I want to do. I'm meant to be here."