A Miami Police officer may have very well saved a family from becoming homeless.
Single mother of three Maidelyn Caneda said she recently found herself in a very daunting situation. She was living out of a motel and her 8-year-old son Roberto was not enrolled in school, WSVN reported.
“At 8 o'clock at night, when your kids are telling you they are hungry and that their stomachs hurt and you have nothing to give them, it's really, really hard,” Caneda told WSVN.
“When you have to beg people or call people you haven't spoken to in years, and have doors slammed in your face," she added. “When you have to go down to a food bank and stand there for hours and not know if you are even going to get a bag of food. At the end of it, it's really, really hard.”
Luckily for Caneda, someone was looking out for her.
Miami Police do weekly checks of motels in the area to stop any potential criminal activity. On Sept. 22, officer James Bernat was called to the scene, and when he met Caneda, he decided to help out.
“Many families are one paycheck from being homeless,” said Bernat, who is the homeless coordinator for the Miami Police.
“I remember the stories of my parents and how they suffered, not for anything they did, but who they were,” said Bernat, whose parents were Holocaust survivors. “As an officer, I see that in other people, and everyone deserves a chance.”
Bernat took Caneda grocery shopping. He then enrolled Roberto in school and found Caneda a job with Mr. Green’s Produce. Caneda, who hasn’t had a job in four years because of health issues, sobbed as she thanked Bernat for his help.
“Don't give up, because here are people like him, like Officer Bernat, that can help you, that will help you, regardless of what you have done in the past, because no one is perfect,” Caneda said. “We just have to keep going.”
Caneda will start work soon and said she hopes to move her family out of the motel and into an apartment.
Bernat recently posted on Twitter that the City of Miami Police Officers have placed 1,572 men and women into the Miami Shelter Program in its first year of existence.