On December 1st, 2000, Hilda Ramos went to The Salvation Army in Riverview looking for work. Money was tight around the holidays, so she and her husband decided the family would benefit if she found temporary work. As soon as Hilda arrived, she was welcomed with open arms and given a job as a bell ringer. A few weeks later, on December 17th, Hilda and the other bell ringers were invited to a Christmas party hosted by The Salvation Army church. She was immediately welcomed into the church community and has gone back with her family every Sunday since.

When Hilda and her husband traveled from Mexico to the United States in 1995, they were chasing the American Dream. When they arrived, they began working for a farm picking tomatoes. The work was tough, but they had aspirations of building a better life for their family, and that motivated them to keep working.

With the help of The Salvation Army, the Ramos family reached a place of financial stability where they were able to shift their focus to helping others. Now, Hilda keeps records for the Women’s Ministry, and her daughter Leslie works at the front office as a secretary.

The Salvation Army reintroduced God to the Ramos family in a way they had never experienced. They now welcome Jesus into every part of their lives, just as they were welcomed into the church community. The Ramos family did not always have an abundance of material possessions, but they were never lacking spiritually. Having such a strong spiritual presence inspired the Ramos’ to give back to their community and help others in need. The more they worked with The Salvation Army, the more they felt their own needs shrink in significance.

With Jesus in their lives, the Ramos’ are empowered to do good for other people. In the past, Hilda came to The Salvation Army to get food and clothes for her children; she is now distributing those goods to other people in need. The Ramos’ believe there is always something to do for others, and they are determined to spread the message of The Salvation Army church by putting others before themselves.

Leslie, who was born shortly after Hilda and her husband arrived in the U.S., is thankful that she grew up in The Salvation Army community. As she gets older, she feels more empowered by Jesus to help others. Working in the front office, Leslie sees many of the people who come to The Salvation Army for help. Riverview has a large Hispanic population, with many migrant workers, who often find themselves at The Salvation Army just as Hilda and her husband did 17 years ago. Leslie, her mother, and the rest of the Ramos family are sure to welcome all those coming. They are always looking to make their Salvation Army family bigger, to help even more people.

By now, some of the Ramos children have grown older and moved away; however, they still see The Salvation Army as their church and home. Hilda believes The Salvation Army will always be their church, and she will look for it everywhere she goes. Hilda and her husband came to The United States with the goal of giving their family a better life, and they succeeded with the help of The Salvation Army. Their children will now be able to keep spreading the teachings of kindness and generosity, and help others find the same sense of love and joy that has changed them for the better.

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