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REBUILDING FOR HERSELF AND HER SON

Gina Nunez's Personal Story

Staying overnight in a hotel room is typically an adventure away from home. It certainly was for 5-year-old Eli, as he jumped from bed to bed, reveling in the experience of sleeping someplace else for the night.

But for his mom, Gina Nunez, the stay in an East York motel was no vacation. As her son laughed and jumped across the room, she was in the bathroom in tears wondering what the next day would bring.

Days earlier, Gina’s second floor apartment on the west end of York was nearly destroyed by fire when an explosion occurred in the basement. She vividly remembers the call she received about 10 years ago while working at a bartender, one of two part-time jobs she held to make ends meet.

That apartment was supposed to be, she said, a new beginning for she and her young son. But things didn’t go as planned because after a series of burglaries and now the fire, the apartment now represents perhaps her life’s biggest turning point.

Nearly everything she had was destroyed by smoke, fire or water that night, including the cash tips she earned through her job.

“I lost everything,” she said. “I literally had the clothes on my back.”

As the smoke smoldered in the apartment building, Gina was given $60 from the American Red Cross, and she paired that with the tip money she received from her shift that night to stay in a hotel room.

With only $90 in her bank account, she knew immediately that she had a tough road ahead.

Gina doesn’t remember who or why, but shortly thereafter, someone suggested she seek help through Community Progress Council. She admits that she needed so many things at that moment of her life that she wasn’t sure what she was really going to ask when she arrived, but the staff at CPC soon focused on finding Gina and her son a place to live.

When a new apartment was located, CPC helped Gina with the security deposit, a pivotal point in her struggle to build her life back once again.

“Had it not been for that security deposit, I don’t know what would have happened,” she said. “The hardest things to do was asking for help.”

Gina later found employment with a property management company and came face-to-face with individuals throughout the York community who found themselves in the same despair as she once did. Her own experience in finding an affordable, yet reliable, place to live gave her not only the knowledge, but the compassion toward others in the same situation, she said.

“It really makes you self-reflect,” Gina said. “I was able to help others because of my own experience.”

Now, 10 years later, her son Eli is on the brink of being a 16-year-old, and Gina enjoys her job at Clark Service Group in Lancaster. They both live in Red Lion.

“(That fire) was a huge turning point for me,” Gina said. “I knew that God had another plan for me.”

As the smoke smoldered in the apartment building, Gina was given $60 from the American Red Cross, and she paired that with the tip money she received from her shift that night to stay in a hotel room.

With only $90 in her bank account, she knew immediately that she had a tough road ahead.

Gina doesn’t remember who or why, but shortly thereafter, someone suggested she seek help through Community Progress Council. She admits that she needed so many things at that moment of her life that she wasn’t sure what she was really going to ask when she arrived, but the staff at CPC soon focused on finding Gina and her son a place to live.

When a new apartment was located, CPC helped Gina with the security deposit, a pivotal point in her struggle to build her life back once again.

“Had it not been for that security deposit, I don’t know what would have happened,” she said. “The hardest things to do was asking for help.”

Gina later found employment with a property management company and came face-to-face with individuals throughout the York community who found themselves in the same despair as she once did. Her own experience in finding an affordable, yet reliable, place to live gave her not only the knowledge, but the compassion toward others in the same situation, she said.

“It really makes you self-reflect,” Gina said. “I was able to help others because of my own experience.”

Now, 10 years later, her son Eli is on the brink of being a 16-year-old, and Gina enjoys her job at Clark Service Group in Lancaster. They both live in Red Lion.

“(That fire) was a huge turning point for me. I knew that God had another plan for me.”

~ Gina Nunez

Gina Nunez

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