Seeing a young woman holding a sign with a desperate message, a couple felt compelled to stop their car to ask questions. They knew instinctively that they would do whatever they could.
Nathan Berning and his wife, Emily, were outside a Holiday Inn in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Aug. 22 when they saw a young lady with the sign. The disturbing message read, “Pregnant and hungry. Please help! God bless.”
The expecting mom was Jewel, 24 weeks pregnant at that time, and her husband, Rob, who is a paraplegic. The downtrodden family of two was living rough.
Nathan later shared the life-changing meeting on Love What Matters.
The couple was living in a small room in a house off Pearl Street after receiving an eviction notice. Rob said his pregnant wife only had one pair of clothes that fit; she had been wearing her “visibly stained” clothes every day for the last month.
“[T]hey had been living off leftover cheese and a bag full of nuts a neighbor had given them, and other than that they had no food and no money,” Nathan wrote.
Jewel said that she’d been standing with her cardboard sign for two hours. Someone had given her a dollar, but most people had pointed, sniggered, or ignored her completely. Nathan and Emily had a different reaction.
They bought a meal for the hungry couple, retrieved their own takeout food from their car, and sat on the sidewalk to eat and talk together.
“If we have the ability to be generous and help, we should,” Nathan wrote. “We can all do a little bit more for the people that are struggling in our community.”
Jewel and Rob, who desperately wanted a child, fell pregnant shortly after the pandemic reached the United States; on Aug. 9, Rob and Jewel got married, Nathan shared on Love What Matters.
“Jewel told me about how she was adopted … and doesn’t keep in touch with her family,” Nathan wrote. “She lost her job about a month earlier at a gas station and had been looking for employment ever since.”
Rob’s paralysis owed to a car accident in 2009. Jewel suffers from seizures. All of a sudden, the couple had no food, money, or clean clothes, and while Rob’s grandmother lived nearby, the couple was too embarrassed to ask for financial help.
“One thing that stuck out to us was that both Rob and Jewel were incredibly positive people,” Nathan said.
Nathan and Emily wanted to buy gift cards for the struggling little family. The couple then bundled Jewel, Rob, and Rob’s bike into their car and drove to a local gas station.
“Jewel started sobbing and saying that we were angels,” Nathan wrote. “She said people never do this and no one had ever done anything like this for her before.”
Nathan and Emily handed the struggling couple a Burger King gift card worth $200, a Subway card worth $300, and a Meijer card worth $1,000, determined to ensure that Jewel would eat well for the duration of her pregnancy.
Rob didn’t believe it until he saw the figures on the receipt. The couple, overwhelmed, took a moment to themselves to “pray and cry.”
When Jewel returned, the gas station clerk had another nugget of good news for her: there was an open cashier position, and Jewel was invited to apply.
In September, The Epoch Times contacted Nathan, who told that Jewel was likely around 28 weeks pregnant by that time. He and Emily are waiting on an update, but in the meantime, their message of hope and positivity holds firm.
“Next time you see someone in need, read their sign. Don’t just ignore them,” Nathan said on Facebook.
“We’ve all needed help at some point. This is a message to remember to give when you can to those in need.”
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