Angels there for you began with a chance meeting after a great dissapointment. Patricia Cruz arrived in Canada from Chile with nothing but suitcases of clothes and books. She and her teenage children were homeless, sleeping on the floor of her friends’ home.
She knew this was not a permanent solution and that she needed work that would provide for her and her children. Every morning she would get up at 5 am and search the help wanted sections of the local newspapers and would spend the day looking for employment. Part-time work was the most she could find, but this would not provide enough to support herself and her children. She prayed to God that she would find a job soon and was elated when she was asked to interview for a position that would utilize her administrative and organizational skills. The interview went well and as she sat in the waiting room, she eagerly anticipated being told she had been hired. However, to her disappointment she was not. Cruz left the building in tears and sat on a bench nearby pleading with God, “Don’t abandon me – please give me a job!”. She had no more leads for employment and didn’t know what to do. It all seemed hopeless.
A young woman approached and began to talk to Cruz. She was the person who had previously held the position Cruz had just applied for. The woman had resigned because she felt she could more effectively help people by providing in-home care for them when they were not able to care for themselves.
For Cruz this chance meeting led to her realize that all was not hopeless, but that God had a plan for her. She had cared for her elderly grandmother and worked with seniors. She had empathy for their needs. God knew better than she did how equipped she actually was to work providing in home care for elderly or incapacitated people. Cruz was thrilled to know that God was leading her in a new direction and began to work out a business plan.
She enrolled in a Self-Employment course, working hard to catch up to the others who had started the class four months earlier. She was encouraged by the principal who commented favourably on her business plan and was further encouraged when she was approved for a $10,000 loan from a local bank to start the business. Cruz shares “When God is with you, nothing is too difficult.”
She started Angels There For You (ATFY), a service for people, mostly seniors, who wish to remain in their home while receiving the support they need to do so.
She bought a small car, some office equipment including a computer, a printer, and hired seven workers, who in the early days even helped her to advertise Angels There For You. She sewed uniforms for the workers and slowly the agency began to grow. The first people helped by ATFY was an elderly couple who needed someone to mow their lawn. Over time as their needs increased ATFY assisted the couple with more support. The business grew from there. Begun in 1999, ATFY now has 200 workers and 600 clients.
The workers are trained by ATFY to care for their clients in a holistic manner – looking to the persons total needs, creating rapport with each person. Cruz stresses that knowing the client by name and building trust is essential.
Cruz firmly believes that God miraculously provided for her and wants to use her story to praise Him and to offer encouragement to anyone who is in a desperate situation to know that with God there is hope. She shares her story with each new worker as part of their training.
The majority of the clients seen by ATFY workers are seniors who wish to stay in the familiarity and comfort of their own home but are not able to completely take care of themselves anymore. Some clients are not elderly but because of illness or other reasons also require assistance.
The services provided by ATFY include nursing care, personal care, palliative care, cleaning, meals, companionship, respite care, 24-hour care and even a mobile salon.
Those who reach out to ATFY are often in desperate need for help.
Each week Cruz and others pray for the workers and for their clients and she thanks God that in 2020 there was not one case of COVID 19 among the workers or clients. In 2021, with the more transmittable Delta variant, a small number of workers and clients were affected.
ATFY workers see clients in South Surrey, White Rock, Cloverdale, Langley, Richmond, Vancouver, Aldergrove, Abbotsford, and recently in Maple Ridge. ATFY is currently looking to hire more workers and are in need of a scheduler who is knowledgeable in health care.
Go to www.atfy.ca for more information.