SAN ANTONIO – “It’s a feeling of just complete joy,” Krystin Gamino said about her life now at the Salvation Army family shelter.
She and her husband Robert Zeller have come so far. They were living in Fresno, California and struggled with addictions to crystal meth and alcohol. But after they had their first son, they knew they had to change.
“We did struggle with addiction and our history there with that and having kids wasn’t going to be acceptable. So we wanted to up and start elsewhere,” Krystin said.
Robert ended up getting a job as a granite fabricator in San Antonio, but they could only afford to live at an Extended Stay. Krystin says it became too expensive and the environment was difficult with her former addiction temptations around, so she called the Salvation Army.
“I came across the Salvation Army and within that day that I looked, I called and they said, ‘come on in,’” Krystin said.
Her and her husband have been staying in a dorm room at the Salvation Army family shelter with their two sons--- four-year-old Akais and two-year-old Kayden since January. She is five months pregnant with her first girl and hopes they will be able to save enough money to be out by September before her baby girl is born.
“This is the happiest that I can honestly say I’ve ever been in my life,” Krystin said. “Being here with all of this opportunity and being away where such ugliness was where we were once living and being away from that is such a blessing.”
She says because of the programs, assistance, meals and warm beds they have received at the Salvation Army’s family shelter....she knows this is it...her family will finally have their fresh start.
“That happiness is something that I want to hold on to and I don’t want to let go,” Krystin said. “I’ve come so far and have been giving all this opportunity already as it is and we are just beginning.”
Krystin wants other struggling people to know that you shouldn’t be ashamed to reach out to shelters or programs like the Salvation Army, because you never know how much it can help.
“Take that helping hand because without you making that jump, that step, you have no idea how far it can take you.”
This coming week is National Salvation Army week from May 10th to May 14th.
This will serve as the nonprofit’s second biggest fundraiser of the year behind their annual Red Kettle Campaign, and they hope to raise $250,000 in San Antonio.
On Thursday, May 13, the San Antonio Salvation Army will be holding a phone bank from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Each donation helps ensure the nonprofit can continue on its mission to serve the community. If you would like to make a donation during the phone bank, call 210-598-7921.
You can head to our KSAT Community section for more about how to donate.