Arlene moved to Orlando for a dream job, only to lose it when the company was sold. That’s when things started to unravel. At first it was small things, like burning through the extras in her pantry. Then it was her savings. Finally, she couldn’t even afford to put gas in her car.
"I was embarrassed and ashamed," she recalls. “"So much time passed and I dug myself into a bigger and bigger hole."
To make matters worse, she contracted COVID-19 and was in quarantine. Her neighbors brought her meals at first, but then they stayed away for their own health and safety. The pandemic took a toll on Arlene physically, financially and emotionally. She wasn’t eating. She was alone. She was depressed.
One day she received a blanket text message from a local elected official offering to help constituents connect with unemployment and other resources. Arlene mustered up the courage to respond and ask for help. Then, she was directed to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s food assistance line.
"If I had known how easy it was going to be, I would have made that call a lot sooner," Arlene admits.
Arlene was enrolled in the Bring Hope Home Program, Second Harvest’s response to the high demand for home-delivered food due to the pandemic. The Program uses external delivery partners and volunteer drivers to connect high risk individuals directly with food items in a contact-free manner. Each delivery provides a variety of nonperishable and perishable foods.
Today, Arlene is negative for the virus and healthy again. She's still maintaining her distance but is ready to restart her job search.
"You've helped me in ways you might not understand. Thank you."