A Helping Hand

Mediaon December 7th, 2017Comments Off on A Helping Hand

Angie loved to bake pies and cakes. That was her hobby and she was darn good at it. She also did hairstyling and enjoyed braiding her friends’ hair and doing stylish updos for special occasions. But she baked and styled hair only when she was not working at the local hospital in the food department or spending time with her five-year-old daughter, Brittany.  Her mom and extended family lived close-by. They were a large, tight-knit family and she was thankful to have them in her life. Angie loved her job at the hospital and lived a busy, happy life. Lately, however, she’d been feeling exhausted and dizzy at the end of the day. Two days ago she’d felt so breathless while working at the hospital that she had to sit down and rest for a few minutes.  Little Brittany complained that her mommy was always sleepy. “You’re too young to be tired and dizzy. You need to have a doctor check you out to make sure you’re okay,” her mom advised.  Angie was the youngest of six kids and only 30 years old. Reluctantly, she agreed to go to the doctor. One visit led to another and within a few short, nightmarish days filled with blood tests, scans, biopsies and doctor’s visits, Angie was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

Faced with a life-threatening illness, Angie had no choice but to stop working and start treatment immediately.   She was scheduled for chemotherapy that would help shrink the cancer, to be followed by a double mastectomy. A few months ago she had signed up for the Affordable Care Act. She realized with relief that the ACA would now cover her treatment.  She started to receive partial disability of $100 every two weeks,  as well as food stamps.  But it was barely enough to make ends meet or to quell the anxiety in her mind.

Being unable to work made a huge dent in Angie’s finances.  Within a month, she fell behind on her rent. The landlord sent her an eviction notice. Terrified and ill, she turned to her friends and family for advice. A friend put her in touch with the Freestore Foodbank. Angie and her mom came to the Freestore Foodbank, hoping against hope that they would receive some sort of assistance. “When we walked into the Freestore Foodbank we did not know what to expect. However, within minutes, it was clear to us that we were in the hands of skilled and compassionate professionals,’ Angie says.  The Freestore Foodbank started the process to help the family. Angie and her daughter were able to receive rental assistance and emergency food assistance. Ryan Luckie, Director of Program Services at the Freestore Foodbank’s Customer Connection Center comments, “Angie’s story is no different from that of many of the other individuals and families we serve. Most of our clients are everyday citizens who are confronting an unexpected crisis such as a sudden illness, injury or the loss of a family member.  We help them get through the crisis by providing emergency food assistance, financial support and anything else they might need to attain stability in their lives.”

Freestore Foodbank’s Customer Connection Center is located at 112 E. Liberty St. and provides a host of critical services such as rental assistance, clothing assistance, SNAP enrollment and social services. The Customer Connection Center is open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday. To learn more the programs and services offered at the Customer Connection Center, click here.