BRISTOL, Tenn. — Michelle Edmisten had no hesitation in her voice when asked how Bristol Faith in Action helped her in a serious time of need. It was the kind words of a relative’s co-worker that brought the organization into her life and forever changed her outlook.

Last winter, Edmisten got sick and lost her job. With three kids to support, she reached out for a helping hand.

“People don’t need to be afraid to ask for help. Not everyone’s perfect,” Edmisten said.

The single mother from Bristol, Tenn., is one of many in the Bristol area who have been helped by agencies supported by the United Way of Bristol.

Currently, the United Way is in the midst of its annual fundraising campaign, which organizers expect to run through Nov. 15. Called “Making Our Communities A Better Place to Live,” the campaign’s fundraising goal is $1.4 million, the most ever because the need is greater than ever, United Way officials said. All of the money raised will stay in the community and benefit nearly 30 nonprofit partnering agencies throughout the region.

“Our family was at a rough point, where we were about to lose our apartment. Things weren’t great for us,” Edmisten said.

Those at Bristol Faith in Action stepped forward and helped her pay her rent, which allowed her get back on her feet.

Their mission statement and purpose is simple, “to recognize and serve the needy of our community as Christ invites us to do.”

“By the kind generosity of Bristol Faith in Action, last Christmas was the best one yet,” Edmisten said, because she was able to stay in her home. “Their name suits them well, they have faith and action to work diligently to help so many.”

Although Edmisten went through some challenging times, she never gave up and she said it was her three children, ages 11, 9, and 5, who kept her spirits high, as well as the people at Bristol Faith in Action.

“As soon as everything hit rock bottom, my first thoughts were how I can make sure my kids are safe,” Edmisten said. “It was time to take Michelle out of the picture and find the resources to make sure I provide a stable roof for the kids.”

When asked what got her through the dark time she faced last winter, Edmisten paused and said one word: “Faith. You need to have faith and look at the positives in your life, even during a bad situation.”

Today, she works as a purchasing agent for a Bristol-based company and devotes much time and energy to making a better life for herself and her children.

“Even though I was laid off and was sick, I never lost hope and believed in myself that good would rise ahead of the bad,” Edmisten said. “I’m extremely grateful for the resources that Bristol Faith in Action provided to me and my family.”

Posted with permission by:  Zach Irby, Bristol Herald Courier

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