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MAN IN A BOX CHRONICLES: Joe & Nicki Find Love After Abuse And Addiction

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Man in a Box
Kelly Kelly
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Recently, we had the opportunity to interview many people that been helped by the Salvation Army. Joe and Nicki joined us to share their past experiences and how they are doing today by the aid of this incredible organization.

Joe had a substance abuse problem with alcohol – an addiction that became extremely hard to upkeep after he married a girl who also shared an addiction in drugs. Joe took all of their money and blew it on alcohol making it impossible to pay rent in the home they were sharing.

When Joe and his wife were evicted, he was forced to live on the streets of Philadelphia for 8 years, sleeping in parking lots, park benches, anywhere he could rest his eyes. Joe’s life was a struggle on a daily basis. He never knew where he was going to shower or where was going to eat.

Joe wanted to be employed and turn his life around but his appearance hindered his ability to get a job interview. If you have no place to sleep or shower, a job-appropriate suit and clean shaven face for an interview is impossible.

He turned to the Salvation Army while he was living on the streets in Philadelphia and he said they were the only people to not judge him and finally open their arms. They wanted to help with whatever they could and ensure a better life for Joe. They helped him with a place to sleep and clothes to wear for a job interview. He then came back to Pittsburgh and found the same help with The Salvation Army of Pittsburgh.

Nicki’s story hit me harder than any I have heard so far. Nicki was in an abusive relationship with her husband. She tried to stick it out, participating in numerous couples/marriage counseling sessions while raising an autistic daughter who was 2 at the time. After the abuse came to a head, Nicki decided to leave by telling her husband she was going for a ‘walk’ and never coming back.

At the time, Nicki was a stay-at-home mother so when she left her husband, their house, and everything they shared together. She had nothing.

She went to an abuse shelter and finally found safety. After staying at the shelter for a while, Nicki called her parents and they came to bring her home to their house. While living with her parents, Nicki reached out to the Salvation Army for aid in food, clothes, budgeting, and housing for her and her daughter.

Now, Joe and Nicki are together in a loving relationship and are raising Nicki’s daughter in a home that is now fit for a family– all because of The Salvation Army.


Click here to see photos from both inside and outside the box at Man In A Box.


Read real-life stories of people helped by the Salvation Army. Click here.


Watch Flick as he lives in a box at PPG Place to raise awareness of homelessness in Western PA. Click here to watch.

How You Can Help

Please join The Salvation Army on the front lines of compassion, fighting the good fight against despair. Your contribution is an investment in futures, because what it ultimately provides is a sense of hope for those who have none.

Donate Online

Our goal is to help the Salvation Army raise $10,000 to help the homeless in Western Pennsylvania. Please help us reach that goal. Click here to donate online.

Text to Donate

Text GIVEPGH to 80888 to make a $10 donation to The Salvation Army*. $10 will provide 3 hot meals to a homeless person.
*You will receive a confirmation text back.

Learn More About Man In A Box – Click Here

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