Olympic hurdler turned bobsledder Lolo Jones says she’ll never forget how The Salvation Army helped her family when they were homeless.
The 35-year-old Christian athlete spent Christmas Eve with her mother as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. Her post read “Christmas Eve with my mom. When we were homeless @SalvationArmyUS sheltered my fam. The money donated helps ppl all year.”
In November, Jones served as a keynote speaker and honoree at an annual Salvation Army luncheon where the three-time Olympian revealed that her family once lived at The Salvation Army Citadel Corps and Community Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
“When we lost our house, I saw my mother pack up her five kids, give us each a blanket and drive around with no destination,” Jones said, according to The Houston Chronicle. “They let us sleep in the basement until she got her feet on the ground.”
The athlete said her family received food, dinner on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, along with presents that were provided through fundraisers like bell ringing.
“Simply because people are shopping and hear the little bell, they stop and donate,” she said at the luncheon. “That changes people’s lives. It changed my life.
“The question I’m always asked is: ‘How do you get the courage to try again?’ I always answer, ‘With the help of The Salvation Army.’”
She was favored to win the 100 meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but tripped on the penultimate hurdle, finishing in seventh place. She went on to win silver at the 2008 World Athletics Final. Jones is the American record holder in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 7.72.
In October 2012, Jones was named to the U.S. national bobsled team. She won a gold medal in the mixed team event at the 2013 World Championships. She represented the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics, making her one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.
Now as a member of the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team, she once again goes for the gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Her tenacity, perseverance, and courage to continue competing at the highest levels is no doubt something she learned as she grew up under trying circumstances.