Success Stories From United Way Partner Agencies
Asian Community and Cultural Center
Family Resource Program
Working with and trying to assist clients every day, the Asian Community and Cultural Center has varying degrees of success. With some clients, we are very happy with the outcome of the help that we provide them. With other clients, we are disappointed with the outcomes. With many clients, outcomes have mixed results. This particular story is one such story. Some of the outcomes are very positive while with others we are still waiting to see what the outcome will be.
A Vietnamese couple came to the Asian Community and Cultural Center in October. They had moved to Lincoln from Louisiana only a few weeks before. They had lived in the United States for seven years. The husband is older than 65 and the wife was a few years younger than 65. They had no jobs, no housing, no insurance, no benefits or assistance of any kind. They were temporarily staying with a friend until they could get their living and financial situation settled. They came to the Asian Center looking for help finding affordable housing and employment.
We referred the couple to the Lincoln Housing Authority and subsequently helped them to fill out the necessary paper work in English to apply for subsidized housing. The waiting list is usually more than three years. We called around to contacts in the Vietnamese community and were able to find them an affordable apartment to rent in the meantime. With a Vietnamese community member who works at a bank, we were able to help them set up bank accounts and explain to them how the accounts work. We contacted a local employment agency, helped them fill out applications, and found both of them temporary employment. The husband may be qualified for Medicaid. We helped him apply for Medicaid and SNAP benefits and the application for assistance with Nebraska Department of Health and Human services is in process. The wife is not qualified for Medicaid because she is younger than 65. We helped her apply for a sliding fee at People’s Health Center and now she is on the waiting list for a medical home at an affordable cost.
After receiving our help, the couple had an affordable apartment, temporary jobs, a bank account, and they were on the waiting list for subsidized housing and a permanent medical home on a sliding scale at the People’s Health Center. They are also waiting to find out if the husband qualified for SNAP benefits and Medicaid.
This story is a great example of how the Asian Center can provide immediate assistance to individuals and families in some areas (employment, housing, banking), but is limited to only referrals in other areas. In this case, we can help the family apply for SNAP benefits, but it may take a long time for their request to be processed. With our own food distribution program, we will provide immediate assistance to those who need it and supplement benefits they may be receiving.
Catholic Social Services
A young, single-parent family came to Catholic Social Services for assistance. The mother was at rock bottom. Her daughter had been seriously ill at Children’s Hospital in Omaha. The mother had recently lost her job due to missing so much work to spend time with her ill daughter. And even though her daughter was eventually released to go home, it was too late to save her job. The woman was behind on all of her bills.
Catholic Social Services was able to step in and negotiate with the young family’s landlord to pay off one month’s worth of back rent and allow the family to add $100 of extra rent for the next seven months to pay off the rest of their debts. Catholic Social Services also assisted in getting the family’s electric bill caught up and helped the woman apply for several jobs. Once employed, the staff at Catholic Social Services assisted the woman with her budget based on her new income level. She is now two months away from getting caught up financially, her daughter is back in school and she has maintained her employment.
Catholic Social Services
St. Francis Food Pantry
A refugee family was coming to us asking for assistance with food. This family had not been in to see us before but when we checked Service Point it appeared that they had been receiving food on a semi-regular basis for the past nine months. They were asked if they were receiving food stamps and they said that they were not because they were refugees that were originally resettled in Minnesota and that they had moved to Lincoln in the past year. During their move to Lincoln, they requested to have food stamps transferred but did not supply Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services all of the information that they requested so they were technically sanctioned. Upon hearing this, our office assisted in forwarding the needed information to NDHHS and having the sanction lifted. The family started receiving food stamps the next month and upon checking Service Point have not accessed the emergency food network since.
CEDARS Youth Services
Emergency Food Assistance to Street Youth
Most situations encountered by CEDARS’ Street Outreach Program have some common elements: young people with complex and often violent backgrounds that have left them homeless, lacking shelter and food, needing a minimum of a hygiene kit and a food box to get by for a while. For these situations, a standard food box offers the basics—nutritious food and water—that allows the youth to get by until they can figure out their next move, ideally with the help of the Street Outreach Program. One recent story, however, reflects just how important food can be to the success of a family.
Kelly was 18 when she originally received help through the Street Outreach Program. Alone with her baby and homeless, the street outreach workers teamed to help Kelly get a Section 8 voucher through the housing authority, find an apartment, and sign up for all appropriate aid programs. After some time and personal reflection, Kelly got a part-time job and signed up for classes at Southeast Community College. After she found a child care provider and began attending classes regularly, Kelly felt her situation had really turned around. She was happy and no longer needed help from the Street Outreach Program. Unfortunately, a year later, Kelly’s daughter began exhibiting serious food allergies that led to costly emergency room visits and related healthcare costs, and then Kelly’s own parents began experiencing severe medical problems that left them unable to afford their own home. After being evicted and with nowhere else to turn, Kelly’s parents moved into her two-bedroom apartment. Suddenly Kelly’s life was, once again, very unstable. In particular, her daughter’s need for a specialized diet proved to be very costly.
Kelly contacted a street outreach worker to see if they knew of any help, and we were able to help by providing her with a grocery gift card a few times throughout the year when she struggled to feed her daughter. Gift cards to grocery stores with a health-food section (Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart) allowed Kelly to buy just some of the basic that her daughter needed—bread, milk, lunch meat—but could not afford because of their high cost. Since her parents were unable to help with bills, this assistance with food was key to helping Kelly maintain independence in her own home.
Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties
Basic and Emergency Needs Services
Ron became a client in our Representative Payee program in late 2010. With physical disabilities that inhibited his ability to work and a history of drug and alcohol addiction, Ron was deemed by the Social Security Administration as incapable of managing his Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) payments. Through our Representative Payee program, Ron was provided with the financial case management necessary to ensure his basic needs were being met.
When Ron first entered the program, he was homeless and spending most nights sleeping beneath a city bridge. In May of 2011 he received housing and has been able to remain in stable housing since.
Ron began to meet regularly with our Representative Payee case manager. Our case manager went through the regular process of setting up a monthly budget with Ron, but also took the initiative to listen to both his struggles and aspirations. During one meeting, Ron mentioned that he had always dreamed of attending college. But being in his mid-sixties, he talked about this aspiration in a joking fashion. He would say things like, “I’m too old for college” and “What good would a college degree do for a guy like me?”
But our case manager saw something in this client that most people would not: drive, intelligence, and capability. In short, she believed in him. She saw his potential and hoped her coaching would help him see it as well. She would say, “Ron, you are a very intelligent man, and it is never too late to go back to college.” Encouraged by our case manager, Ron contacted Southeast Community College and applied for financial assistance.
A couple weeks later, Ron found out that his application for financial assistance was approved by the college. Ron was beside himself with excitement, and enrolled in the fall quarter. He passed his classes and is currently in the second quarter toward completing his degree.
Ron has told our case manager that education “gives him a purpose.” Ron’s story is just one example of the impact of case management and the importance of helping the most disadvantaged realize that they are remarkable, capable people.
Julie initially contacted Community Action’s Emergency Services Program for assistance with her monthly rent payment, but it was clear that she needed case management as well. With a fixed monthly income of only $674, health issues, a pregnant adult daughter to care for, and a criminal record, Julie faced many barriers that made it difficult for her to get ahead.
Eager to get her life back on track, Julie was open to case management. Guided by one of our case managers, Julie set goals, one of which was to apply for a Section 8 housing voucher. Upon recommendation from her case manager, Julie scheduled herself to attend RentWise classes offered at Community Action through the Lincoln Housing Authority. She completed the classes and received a housing voucher. This assistance helped Julie manage her monthly rent payment, giving her more room in her budget for basic needs and more time to focus on completing another goal of going back to college for her human services degree.
But Julie still faced one major barrier toward achieving this goal: She had been placed on the Central Registry due to an altercation with her sister. Upon evaluation of the situation, our case manager recommended that Julie write a letter to DHHS appealing their decision to put her on the registry. She did and, two weeks later, received a letter from DHHS stating that her name had been successfully removed. Through her determination and the guidance of our case manager, Julie eliminated the primary barrier that stood between her and her education aspirations. She is eager to make a plan to get back in college to achieve her degree.
We are proud of Julie’s progress! Her story and the many others we continue to see unfold are truly inspiring.
While individuals rarely have the opportunity to impact national unemployment trends like the one that prevailed in 2011, having a garden can have a significantly positive impact on a person’s budget and self-esteem in tough times. Growing and preparing one’s own food saves money, but it also can also help give people a sense of control over their own well-being in a way that traditional benefit programs cannot.
Gardening with Community CROPS can be doubly beneficial because it creates these opportunities in a social context. Unemployed or underemployed participants in our program often find solidarity with their garden neighbors and can learn and be inspired by their austerity efforts. Candy, for example, joined the CROPS garden at the Northeast United Church of Christ after losing her job in February 2011. When she applied in March, she wrote to us that her family of three was getting by on only $2200 a month, $900 of which came from unemployment benefits. She told us that, in addition to needing assistance to support her family’s grocery budget, she was also anxious to have something meaningful to do with her free time. Although CROPS offered to waive her plot fee because of her financial situation, Candy instead volunteered to care for perennial beds and compost bins at three separate gardens near her neighborhood in exchange for a free plot for her family.
As the season progressed, Candy began to meet each of her neighbors at the NEUCC garden. She soon noticed that one of the other gardeners was having a hard time maintaining her plot in part because of a challenging mental disability. Seeing this, Candy made arrangements for the two of them to come out to the garden at the same time every week in order to keep the gardener motivated and to give her tips on how to deal with weeds and pests. Both women’s gardens ended up being very productive throughout the summer, and they each managed to plant a second round of fall crops. Both have already applied to return to their plots again this spring.
Candy has also helped our staff create a citywide committee of garden program participants that shares their experiences with each other and our board of directors. We are currently in the process of creating a newsletter written by this committee and, although it won’t be published until the next planting season begins in May, she has already submitted two instructive organic gardening articles for it. She has also attended CROPS events and has provided frequent helpful insights into how to better encourage volunteers at other sites.
Candy was obviously well equipped with the knowledge necessary to grow her own food at home before joining our program, but she lacked the capital resources of tools, seeds, and full-sun garden space—all of which CROPS was able to provide to her at no cost. In return, she was not only able to grow enough produce to positively impact her own family’s budget, but she was also empowered to help neighboring gardening families be more productive in their efforts as well.
Food Bank of Lincoln
The Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry Program operations do not deal in individuals, but rather groups. We are not building relationships with individuals, but benefitting groups. In 2011, our work with the Center for People in Need, the Neighborhood Food Program, supported the nutritional lives of an average of 1,896 unduplicated households per month. This is our single largest food distribution process. In 2011, this operation distributed 2,220,757 pounds of grocery products. This is roughly the equivalent of 1,734,966 meals.
Our Jacob’s Well/First Presbyterian food distribution has averaged over 300 individuals on the first and third Saturdays of the month. This operation is unique in that it takes place on Saturday mornings, when the working poor of the Near South neighborhood have an opportunity to have access to good food. In 2011, this program distributed 312,368 pounds of food, or the equivalent of 244,037 meals.
The Lincoln High Food Market launched in October and serves between 150 and 200 Lincoln High Students on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month in the school cafeteria. Many Lincoln High students are living on their own, and hundreds are living below the poverty line. The 2011–2012 school year finds 820 Lincoln High Children in the Free Lunch Program.
The Center for People in Need Partnership provides food and hope to large numbers of people on a weekly basis. We are providing food, hope and tangible support to people who have great needs. We are also disseminating a considerable amount of information that may support peoples’ lives.
The Jacob’s Well/First Presbyterian food distribution is the ideal operation. The lives of both the people who are being served and the people who are serving are being enriched. We are connecting people to food and to each other. It is reported that this operation has enriched the collective lives of both First Presbyterian Church and Capitol City Christian Church.
At Lincoln High, we are serving high school kids who are working hard to move from poverty to better circumstance. The success of this program will undoubtedly call us to begin a program at North Star High School, which has 788 students in the free lunch program. This food is helping Lincoln High staff and students build an even better culture of trust and compassion at one of our great high schools. It is an inspiring program. Again, the students and staff helping with the program are receiving as much as the kids that are receiving the food.
The Food Bank Mobile Pantry Program, along with our Backpack Program, have helped us reach more people than ever before. Food availability will drive the sustainability and growth of these excellent programs. United Way support for our produce-purchasing program would greatly enhance our ability to sustain these significant programs.
Increased produce in our community will also benefit our 25 United Way agencies that we serve.
Transitional Shelter Services
Safety was a top priority for Julie (name has been changed). Julie was struggling with several physical issues that made it impossible for her to work full-time. Her part-time employment did not cover all of her bills and she couldn’t stay with family because they didn’t have enough space or resources. Julie had costly and inadequate health insurance, which made addressing her medical needs very difficult. She couldn’t afford to miss work because she was worried about paying her bills and about losing the job. Julie was lacking in self-esteem and had no support system other than a few family members. Her mental health condition was exacerbated by the stress of all of these issues and her inability to afford her medication.
Julie came to Fresh Start seeking help she needed to get her back on her feet.
Fresh Start provided encouragement as Julie developed a plan and worked towards her many goals. The Fresh Start team aided Julie with accessing programs for medication assistance, housing, and legal support to finalize her divorce. Fresh Start staff helped her identify ways to communicate with her employer and arrange to miss work while recuperating from surgery. Case managers advocated to medical providers for reduced medical fees. Because of this, Julie was able to address her physical health issues and still keep her job. She didn’t have to worry about the bills because Fresh Start’s program fees were reduced when her income was reduced. Fresh Start staff also helped her address the unexpected emotional distress resulting from the end of her long but unhappy marriage. This was done through support at the shelter along with referrals to a grief and loss counselor.
Julie lived at the shelter for 12 months and took full advantage of the program. She returned to working 32 hours per week (the maximum available), paid off past-due bills, and was managing to save a little bit of money as well. Now Julie has a network of support both socially and professionally. She also strengthened her relationship with her family. After leaving Fresh Start, Julie told a case manager, “if it weren’t for Fresh Start I would probably be dead.”
Good Neighbor Community Center (GNCC)
Food Pantry & Perishable Food program
Gloria came to the GNCC to see if there were any services available for her. She was desperate and in tears explaining how her child was ill and how she had lost her job because of the many appointments she had to take her child to due to the illness. Things looked bleak for Gloria. In addition to all the stress she had, the doctor appointments were in Omaha and her finances were depleted. How was she going to come up with money for gas to the appointments and be able to feed her family at the same time?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Coordinator did her interview and told her she could shop for food and clothing. She also assisted Gloria fill out the Access Nebraska application to receive assistance for which she could qualify. Together with other programs provided at the center, she was able to meet her immediate needs so she could concentrate on her child’s health.
Gloria received SNAP benefits and was able to use the little money she had to purchase gas to make the necessary trips to Omaha. Gloria continues to wait for her son’s recovery so she can return to work without the fear of losing her job due to the amount of times she must be absent. She continues to utilize the perishables and non-perishables program at GNCC while supplementing with SNAP benefits for what she cannot get from GNCC. She is grateful for the assistance she receives and has the assurance that she will continue to have food on her family’s table and be able to take her child to the doctor in Omaha.
League of Human Dignity
Barrier Removal Program
Scott was living independently in an apartment that was not conducive to his physical needs. With his manual wheelchair, he was having a difficult time safely bathing due to the existing small shower stall. He was not able to correctly transfer to a shower chair due to the size restraints of the bathroom and the transfer often caused trauma to his skin, leaving wounds that were difficult to heal. Not only was it difficult to shower, he also had a hard time washing his hands and brushing his teeth as the bathroom did not have a roll-under sink. Scott had to maneuver his wheelchair up to the side of the sink, wash one hand, and then go out of the bathroom and back in to wash his other hand. There was not enough clear floor space to turn around in the bathroom. The doorway was barely wide enough for him to get in and out!
Scott contacted the League of Human Dignity to help with the barriers he was facing. Although his landlord was willing to work with Scott and his requests, he was not able to pay for the upgrades. League of Human Dignity’s Barrier Removal program was able to help Scott by providing a swing-clear door to allow more room to enter and exit the bathroom, a roll-under sink and a roll-in shower. Scott now uses a shower chair that he can safely transfer to-and-from and easily exit the bathroom. With the funding and assistance from League of Human Dignity, Scott is able to remain safely in his own home and live an independent life attending college and completing his degree.
League of Human Dignity, Inc.
Barrier Removal Program
A consumer lives in an apartment and contacted the League because he needed his bathroom modified for wheelchair access. He receives Social Security Disability income and wasn’t able to pay for the modifications himself. The landlord was willing to work with the League’s Barrier Removal Program to allow for the modifications, but stated he would not be able to pay for them.
The consumer uses a manual wheelchair, but he was having difficulty safely bathing independently because his existing shower stall was very small. He was not able to transfer to a shower chair and then roll into the shower to bathe because of the small size of the shower. The trauma to his skin during awkward transfers in the small space was causing wounds that were difficult to heal.
This consumer also needed a roll-under sink in the bathroom to do hand washing and to brush his teeth. He would maneuver his wheelchair up to the side of the sink, wash one hand, and then go out of the bathroom and back in to wash his other hand. There was not enough clear floor space to turn in the bathroom. The doorway was barely wide enough for him to get in and out of the bathroom.
The modifications to the consumer’s bathroom included swing-clear hinges for the doorway to allow more room to enter and exit the bathroom, a roll-under sink, and a roll-in shower. The roll-under sink and roll-in shower also created more clear floor space for turning to maneuver in the bathroom. The consumer now uses a shower chair that he can safely transfer to and then roll into the shower.
The consumer will be able to remain in his home and be more independent with bathing and grooming as a result of the modifications. If the consumer’s wounds would not heal and continued to worsen, he would be at risk of needing surgery and nursing home placement. This consumer is attending college and plans to work when he completes his degree.
Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach
Jane has been living at the Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach Transitional Living House for almost two years. She came to the transitional living house under Federal supervision with the possibility of doing prison time.
With the help and support of Matt Talbot, Jane has not relapsed and is active in recovery (routinely visits with her sponsor and attends meetings and recovery events). She is involved in giving back to the community by volunteering at St. Monica’s and Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach events. At her sentencing hearing, she was given probation and ordered to pay restitution, but did not have to go to prison on her Federal charge. Since she has been doing so well in her program at Matt Talbot, a warrant in Florida was dropped and she is now in search of her own apartment. She has maintained full-time employment and has over $2,000 in a savings account.
Jane plans to transition out of housing just shy of her 2 year anniversary since seeking treatment. She may still be a little rough around the edges but she is starting to shine her light on a better life. She has proved to be a great example of what hard work, support and having a place to rest and recoup can do for someone overcoming significant obstacles.
Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach
“Jeff” was in need of housing, intensive case management, and ongoing support to maintain his sobriety. He entered Matt Talbot’s Transitions House, a sober living facility, approximately one year ago. He had been referred to Matt Talbot, gone through the eligibility process, and was accepted into the program. Once he was approved he began working with the house manager and the licensed alcohol and drug counselor to develop a very specific and measurable goal plan. His goals were to maintain sobriety, obtain employment and permanent housing, address health and substance abuse issues, and reunite with family members.
Like others that have gone before him, Jeff found it was quite a challenging process. He met weekly with case management and the counselor and attended several AA meetings. He was provided a drug and alcohol evaluation and was put on the waiting list for long-term treatment with CenterPointe. He found employment at a local church and loves it. He has reunited with his son, which gives him great joy. He received assistance for vision care and new glasses through Matt Talbot’s Vision Improvement Project and obtained food stamps through access to the SNAP program, which is on-site multiple times per month. He also attended and graduated from our Life Skills series.
Jeff’s mood and attitude is markedly improved from when he first came to Matt Talbot. He regularly volunteered at our center and was mainly responsible for lawn care and grounds work. This is a tremendous help to us and gives him a sense of pride and giving back. He entered CenterPointe’s long-term treatment program in December and continues to do well.
We are thankful to be a part of Jeff’s long-term recovery and we are thankful to United Way and JBC for supporting this program that provides housing and hope for those on the margins.
Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach
Hunger Relief & Nutrition Education
A client with a severe eating disorder has been coming for nutrition therapy with our staff dietitian for the past year. She was referred by her mental health therapist, who felt she needed help normalizing food and learning healthy eating strategies. She was unemployed at the time and needed a resource that was affordable.
In addition to meals, Matt Talbot offers free medical nutrition therapy, nutrition education, and cooking classes to homeless and low-income community members. When the client first came to Matt Talbot, she was malnourished and at a very unhealthy weight.
The dietitian met with her and initially their work was directed toward building trust and being healthy. They moved into nutrition education and behavior modification. They used role playing and they shared meals together. They used a concept called mindful eating and incorporated dialectical behavior therapy. They never spoke about weight or used a scale but rather talked about health and food in a positive way.
Eventually the woman started eating her meals at Matt Talbot with all the other guests. The dietitian suggested this might help normalize food for her and make it more social. Given the fact that she was also low-income, she could benefit from the free nutritious meal.
Over time, this became more of a common occurrence and the client was gaining weight and appeared much healthier. She began volunteering at Matt Talbot helping answers phones and providing office support. She continues to come back for counseling though not as often. She also continues to volunteer.
She states she owes her life to Matt Talbot, our wonderful dietitian, and the environment where she felt welcomed and supported. She has increased self-esteem, much better health, and hope for the future.
People’s City Mission
Marisela came to People’s City Mission scared, hopeless and homeless. She was a young mother of two children and six months pregnant with her third child. Not only did she fear for her children’s safety, she often wondered where their next meal would come from. Marisela was unaware of the resources and supports available to her until she met with her caseworker at People’s City Mission.
During the entire time Marisela was at People’s City Mission, she remained positive and upbeat, worked hard to better her situation with guidance from her caseworker and was a great role model to other guests. Together, Marisela and her caseworker completed the paperwork for supportive housing as well as childcare state subsidy. Within a few weeks she obtained a position working at Kawasaki and worked hard to save for the day when she would receive housing.
That day finally came and she was able to move into her own place thanks to the assistance and education provided at People’s City Mission. She was overjoyed to have a place to call her own, a place that was safe for her children to sleep, a place to call home.
People’s City Mission
Cynthia came to the People’s City Mission (PCM) six months ago. She was in jail and wrote a letter asking if she could parole out to PCM. We made it possible for her to come stay here. During her stay, she has developed great motivation for change and an extremely positive attitude. Her example has been such a light to the other guests, and she inspires them to do the same. Cynthia got a job and vehicle, was able to save for housing, and is now off parole. She has r with her family and encountered many great victories while staying here. Her caseworker was a great asset in helping her to achieve her goals. Cynthia has also had to overcome many obstacles, like the sudden death of her mother, which she meets with great courage and a desire to not go back to her old habits and life. Her story is one of many successes that our caseworkers/supervisors encounter on a monthly basis.
The Center for People in Need
Peggy is a 56-year-old mother of three. Her two older sons are disabled and her daughter goes to elementary school. When Peggy called us, she was desperate. Due to a medical emergency with one son, she had no money available for food until the first of the month, ten days away. Peggy’s younger son needed nutrition from a special mix. She had enough of that for him, but there was only half a cup of oatmeal and one can of beets left in the cupboard. It was impossible for her to feed her other two children and herself on that for ten days.
When chatting with a neighbor the day before, she found out about the Neighborhood FOOD program at the Center for People in Need. Her neighbor, Ahmed, volunteers at the Center, helping set out food and commodities and helping clients as they come to get their food for the week. He suggested Peggy call the Center to see about getting food. Near tears, she told him that she wouldn’t be able to go to the Center to get any food because her car had been repossessed. Even if she had her car, she couldn’t leave her children alone to go to Neighborhood FOOD. Ahmed told her to call the Center and sign up. They could arrange for him to bring her food after he was done for the day.
As Peggy explained this to the Center’s Neighborhood FOOD coordinator, she again broke into tears. “They are my children,” she said, “and I have to be able to put food on the table for them. I don’t mind not eating, but they have to.” The food coordinator completed Peggy’s application over the phone. In the process of doing so, she found out that Peggy was behind in paying her utility bill, was not receiving energy assistance, and did not have health insurance for herself or her children. Peggy was referred to resources including our computer lab, where they would help her fill out the application for energy assistance and enrollment in Medicaid for health care. She told Peggy what paperwork to send with Ahmed the next day so he could get food for her, and that she would include a set of Resource Handbooks for Ahmed to give her. The information in them would provide other avenues of help for Peggy and her family. Peggy thanked the coordinator, said she really appreciated the help, and would also come to FoodNet at the Center, and use the other food resources that were suggested.
The Center staffer was happy to tell Peggy that she could receive food from the Center every week, not just once. There was silence on the other end of the line, followed by some muffled sobbing. “Are you alright, ma’am?” the staffer asked. Peggy replied, “We can get food every week?” When the staffer affirmed that, Peggy said, “Every week! We won’t waste anything, I promise!” She added that her daughter was on the waiting list to receive a Friday Backpack of food at her school, but they had been told to expect a wait. Peggy thanked the staffer again, and said she would look forward to getting food the next day.
Another client we’ll call Brittnee came to the Neighborhood FOOD distribution at the Center with her father, who had driven her here. Not quite 20, Brittnee had recently been abandoned by her boyfriend when he found out she was pregnant. Now eight months along, Brittnee was homeless and out of options. Through our Health Hub program we were able to get her into People’s Health Center for her pregnancy. We also helped her sign up for TANF and referred her to the Good Neighbor Community Center for clothing and additional food.
Her father was supportive, but had no resources himself and lived in a one-room basement. As Brittnee waited for the food distribution, she learned about other resources available at the Center. She bought a “Ride for $7.50” bus pass and got food for the week along with newborn diapers, toilet paper, shampoo, and body wash. After her son, Caleb, was born, Brittnee attended Neighborhood FOOD for several months until she got a job and was able to support herself and her son.
The Salvation Army – Lincoln
We have a woman who comes to us for help with food on a fairly regular basis. She used to work as an RN making about $60,000 a year, but had to retire a few years ago due to medical issues. Since then, her income is only about $14,000 a year and she has a great deal of debt. She tells us that there are many times after she has paid the bills, she has nothing left to purchase any food. She has told us that without the help from our food pantry and our perishable food distribution, which we offer twice a week, she would have gone without food.
The Salvation Army – Lincoln
Jack and Mary are an elderly couple who had come across some hard times. Even though Jack is employed, his hours had been drastically cut and their income was now less than half of what it had been previously. They needed help paying for their gas bill as they were nearing the point of it getting cut off and had no additional funds to cover the monthly charges.
They came to Salvation Army in search of help. The Utility Assistance Program was utilized to help Jack and Mary so their gas wouldn’t be shut off and Salvation Army also helped provide them with food so their income could be applied to other pending bills. Without Salvation Army’s assistance, Jack and Mary would have been without gas to help cook meals and warm their home.
The Salvation Army – Lincoln
A woman was referred to us through a social worker at the Lincoln Dialysis Center. She had suffered four different bouts of cancer, broken her hip twice, and had two open-heart surgeries. She was now on dialysis and, because of her illness and rising medical expenses, was falling behind on utility bills. When she came in to see us, she needed $500.00 to avoid a disconnection. She is a senior and had tried to get help at several other places, but was not eligible because her income on disability was too high. We worked with her and contacted other agencies who were able to help her obtain the full $500 needed.