Deserted by her husband, pregnant, and on the verge of being homeless, Amanda describes a period in her life four years agoas simply existing in a “dark place.”Still hurting from an abusive marriage, and not too far along in her recovery from methamphetamine, Amanda moved from Menifee in Riverside County to San Clemente. For a while she was able to pay rent for an apartment and support herself, however, that didn’t last long. Amanda had to seek help from a friend who manages a motel in San Clemente. “I said to my friend, ‘I’m going to be homeless very soon and I don’t know where to go.’ Her friend assured her that if it got to that point, she would have a place for her to stay at the motel. And soon after, Amanda was in a room at the motel.
“I remember my first Sunday morning there. Someone knocked on my door and said, ‘Pancakes!’ I’m thinking this is cool; this is a nice motel; they deliver pancakes. I open the door and there are all these people outside. They’re all from church and they’re setting up and going to have a church service and a pancake breakfast.” The volunteers Amanda encountered were part of a ministry called Breakfast Together Outreach, with the group’s focus on pointing residents to God rather than simply providing a bandaid for them. The volunteers offer “a hand-up, not a handout.” A rotating set of small groups sign up to serve a breakfast and a ministry leader provides a message about God in the motel courtyard. “You feel forgotten in that situation.When you are lost like that, you don’t feel like you matter,” Amanda said. “The church came in, ministry came in, the people came in, and let me know that I mattered and that kept me going.” Amanda, who has now worked at the same job for several years and has an apartment of her own along with her children, said she realizes how crucial it was for her to ask God for help and then see him in action in the form of the people of the “BreakfastTogether Outreach.” “I don’t necessarily look back at that time as bad; I look at it as a blessing that I met the most wonderful people in the world. And I found a ministry that made my life what it is now.”