FLINT, MICH. –  “I’m holding tears back right now.”

Sitting in the middle of Hamilton Community Health Network’s North Pointe Clinic conference room was a Christmas tree. Underneath it were three big green bags, designated for Lou Bertha and Dumane Tinker’s three girls.

“I was stressed,” explains Lou Bertha Tinker with emotion. “I was ready to give up – just throw in the towel because I couldn’t do nothing for them.”

Tinker explains she had a heart attack and eventually lost her job. She says it was the visit with one of Hamilton’s Community Health Workers that gave her hope.

“I started looking at all the words, the encouraging words on the wall. I told her from that day on, I was like, ‘Seeing these words – I’m going to live these words,’” says Tinker. “’I’m going to keep my smile even though I’m going through.’”

Tinker says she is grateful to the North Pointe staff for putting smiles on her children’s faces. Two-year-old Faith was adoring her stuffed Minnie Mouse. Arianna is 11 and Samaria is 13 years old. The girls also received coats and toys. Mom and dad received a restaurant gift card.

“I didn’t see it happening, and I’m thankful,” expresses Tinker. “I’m thankful. I thank all of you.”