For four months, 66-year old disabled widow Paula found herself with no electricity or running water in her apartment. Her $500 a month rent was past due, and with a fixed income of only $700, each month was a series of hard decisions. She had no way to get to the supermarket, and no money to buy groceries while she was there. For most of those four months, Paula was feeling rather hopeless.
Desperate to access any sort of help that might be available, she reached out to Delia, one of Second Harvest Food Bank’s Outreach Specialists, for assistance in filling out a SNAP food stamps benefit application. After hearing Paula’s story and helping her complete her application, Delia provided Paula with a $50 grocery gift card to help hold her over until she could be approved for benefits. Afterward, Delia simply couldn’t get Paula out of her mind.
The next day, after getting permission from Paula, Delia spoke with a representative from one of Second Harvest’s feeding partners, the Salvation Army. The next day, Salvation Army was kind enough to visit the older woman with an armful of groceries and an eagerness to further provide assistance. Through the coordination and assistance of several local organizations, Paula was able to get her rent up-to-date, her electricity and water turned back on , and a volunteer from a local church has offered to transport Paula to and from the grocery store and church.
And that’s not all…. With help from the Salvation Army, Paula will be moving into transitional housing once her lease is up, and eventually will move into housing for the elderly. She now has friends that check on her and take her to church and shopping. With Second Harvest Food Bank’s help, her SNAP food benefits were approved until 2017 -- one less stress on a woman who until recently had no idea where her next meal would come from, or when she would have electricity or running water again.
This is what teamwork can do! With a simple phone call and conversation, Paula was able to get the assistance she so desperately needed, and restore her hope. Because of the action of caring individuals, the help of SNAP benefits, and the community working together, one more person is finding hope, and piecing together her life again.