The Road to Paradise: A 'Tis the Season Special

Every story is entitled to an ending. This one will come to a close at the kitchen table on east 16th street in Chico, across the street from the Salvation Army.

Posted: Dec 11, 2017 6:46 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2017 6:55 PM

Every year we do the ‘Tis the Season food drive, from which the food goes to the Salvation Army and benefits hundreds of families throughout the year.

To kick off the week, we bring you the story of one family who is a beneficiary.

Every story is entitled to an ending. This one will come to a close at the kitchen table on east 16th street in Chico, across the street from the Salvation Army.

But first, let's go back to where it begins.

Paradise.

An ironic name for a small town of a little more than 26,000. And ironic for Lori Snyder.

“People that were toxic for me was the only thing I knew. It's the only thing I grew up with,” Snyder recalled.

She and her mom moved from San Jose when she was 18-months-old, and let's just say Paradise isn't how she would describe her childhood.

“Chaotic childhood. My mom wasn't always the best mom, you know, in our addictions we don't always make the right choices or do the right thing.”

Addictions. A word all too familiar to Snyder. For her dad, it was heroin. He died of an overdose when she was 8-years-old.
For her step dad, it was dealing drugs, leading to him being shot in the back of the head.

“He's killed, you know. Somebody killed him. Over what? Why?”

For her mom, it was meth and pain killers. She had a bad back.

It was a chaotic childhood, as she called it.

“High school was oblivious to me, like, I don't really remember it all that much because I was worried about where I was going to sleep that night.”

In high school, Snyder started drinking, and at 17, she began smoking meth.

“I never wanted to. Like I always was like ‘I’m never going to end up like my mom, I don't want to drink, I don't want to drink I don't want to do all that… and hanging out with the wrong people.”

Fast forward to 1999, when Snyder was 21, and hit with another blow.
“Probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through.”

After getting a shot of Demerol in her back, her mom drove home and crashed her car. She died instantly on the skyway.

“And I didn't believe them. I ran into the house and I was looking for my mom.”

Life was spiraling downward fast.

Snyder ended up in jail, and 4 months later sought refuge in the Skyway House.

At 24-years old, that's when she met her husband.
She would go on to marry him 2 years later and have James, her first child, and soon become pregnant with two twin daughters, Lilly and Lindsey.

“I was doing the whole life that they talk about. I was married, working, raising kids, cleaning.”

For the first time ever, she was leading a happy, normal life. But that's one of the great tragedies of life, something always changes.

She was cleaning houses and working for a woman who became her rock, and a part of her family. But then she got the devastating news; in 2010, a pill overdose took her boss's life.

“She was my everything. Like she reminded me of my mom, she was my best friend, just absolutely adored her, she adored my kids.”

Once again, Snyder turned to drugs to numb the pain.

“I actually went through a depression for 30 days, I did not come out of my room for 30 days. I didn't even think that was possible.”

Her married life eventually crumbled, and she lost custody of her 3 children who were put into foster care.

It was the first time she felt truly alone, nearly drinking herself to death.

“If my best friend Josh didn't call the paramedic, I would have been dead within a half hour.”

Snyder finally realized she had a problem, and in 2012 went to the Esplanade House to get her life back on track.

She met a man in 2015, and 3 months later became pregnant with her 4th child.
But, her new love left her pregnant and alone.

“I, at that time, wanted to die. I seriously wanted to die. In august of 2016, when she was born, I wanted to die, I did not want to live any longer.”

But that's one of the great joys of life, something always changes. And on that day, it was her life that changed.

“It was like as soon as I saw her eyes, I was like… she saved my life. That's why I called her Liv.”

But the county didn't think she was fit to be a mom, and took her little bundle of joy right from the hospital.

“I started doing services right away. They took her on a Saturday and I went to the CPS office on Monday and tested, what do you need me to do?”

She worked to get Liv back, and before too long, the 5 of them would be living at the Johnson House, not knowing they would soon find their own paradise, about 4 miles south, at the intersection of 16th and Laurel, across the street from the Salvation Army.

“All my prayers have been answered. My baby's back home, I have a community, we're not homeless”

And she's clean.
Her community is the Salvation Army, which has given her kids some clothes, and every week they get groceries for the family.
But that sounds like a lot of taking, and she's not about that.

“I love people. I do. I used to say I hated people not too long ago but I really do love people.”

So much so, that she now volunteers for the Salvation Army.

Every Thursday she spends all day there, helping pass out food to those who need it.

“It makes my day to see people smile and just to be like ‘hi, how are you doing?”

She leaves only to pick her kids up from school, before dropping them off at home and coming right back to help cook in the evening.

She says this place has changed her. She has no desire to use drugs, and wants to make sure her kids never have to go through what she had to.
From coming in as a weary soul not wanting to trust people, she has now found her community, her family, and her home.

Her paradise, at the kitchen table on east 16th street, across the street from the Salvation Army.

“I fought to get here, that's for sure. And I know I couldn't have gotten here without God.”

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3543340

Reported Deaths: 49888
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118349620069
Riverside2885413695
San Bernardino2850812651
Orange2598573848
San Diego2578053218
Santa Clara1095061747
Kern102137786
Fresno945841397
Sacramento926211446
Alameda797961200
Ventura76947805
San Joaquin662901042
Contra Costa61865653
Stanislaus55487937
Tulare47680731
Monterey42016323
San Mateo38552502
San Francisco33947394
Santa Barbara31630398
Solano29882161
Merced28749393
Sonoma27845295
Imperial26840587
Kings21916218
Placer19661231
San Luis Obispo19500221
Madera15325201
Santa Cruz14516174
Marin13083197
Yolo12689185
Shasta10950172
Butte10855158
El Dorado906995
Napa895068
Sutter881896
San Benito572358
Yuba571936
Lassen559419
Tehama506852
Tuolumne392959
Nevada390974
Mendocino379043
Amador343840
Humboldt313633
Lake310740
Glenn220723
Colusa212513
Calaveras190225
Siskiyou172013
Inyo127835
Mono12084
Del Norte9765
Plumas6516
Modoc4504
Mariposa3937
Trinity3525
Sierra990
Alpine800
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 55°
Oroville
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 56°
Chico
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 55°
Red Bluff
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 58°
Red Bluff
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 58°
Chico
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 55°
Strong wind continues to blow through the valley this afternoon, and will last through the evening. Thursday will still be a fairly breezy day, but the wind won't be as strong and our temperatures will be warmer. More wind is coming Friday and Saturday.
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