MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - September’s Mid-South Hero brings unconditional love and resources to women on the streets of Memphis. She hopes it will guide them to live free from addiction and crime.
"We wanted to give women a hand up. So many women have experienced trauma as children and when that happens we stop growing emotionally in some ways and so we don't learn to take care of ourselves,” said Sandra Farrell.
After retiring, Sandra Farrell started The Community of St. Therese of Lisieux. She is that hand up. Her drive and heart for women was fueled by not only her compassion, it was personal.
"When I was a child, I was a survivor of sexual abuse and I had a family around me and my family took care of me. What I learned is most women on the streets have also suffered abuse when they were children and they don’t all have families,” said Farrell.
Seven years ago, Farrell became an extended family member to those survivors.
She has the help of Trisha Henderson, survivor and advocate of The Lissou Community, who knows firsthand what these women are going through.
"And these are some of the same women that I did drugs with, and same women I went to jail with. And it's such a blessing to be able to come back and show them the power of God. To show them that if they want to get help, that if they want to be free, they can be free,” said Henderson.
“We would not have been received as well, had Trish not been with us, because they recognize Trish. And one of the things that's missing out here is trust. And so, we have worked very hard to build trust. When we say we're coming every Thursday night between 5 and 6, we will be here every Thursday night between 5 and 6,” said Farrell.
A board and several church organizations gather donations to give the women what they need every day of the week but Thursdays are extra special. The women all gather to have a seat at the table for a hot home-cooked meal when possible and a purse full of toiletries -- things we often take for granted.
You would think that would be enough. No, Sandra Farrell is a dreamer!
"The goal is to have a drop-in center so that the women can come in the daytime. They can take a shower, they can have a meal, they can have a place to rest,” said Farrell. "St. Therese says I can’t be a martyr, but I can do little things every day and that’s what we do, little things every day to help.”
Sandra Farrell, your compassion, selflessness, dedication and commitment to doing the “little things” makes you this month’s Mid-South Hero!
If you know someone worthy of being called a hero, nominate them here.