When hard work is not enough

She worked hard all of her life and did her best to pay her bills on time. Because she was so independent, it very difficult for her to ask for assistance from Together We Cope. But there came a time when she did need assistance.

A fresh start

Carol came to Illinois with her mother and disabled son after leaving the child’s father in Oklahoma. She hoped to get a fresh start in an environment with better job opportunities. Her child’s father did not provide stability to the family and was an alcoholic. So Carol began a new job at an insurance company in Illinois, but the long hours kept her away from her autistic son at times and soon he began to have problems in school. There was little time to be in contact with her son’s school, or time to provide the parental guidance he needed. Her mother could not care for the boy because of age related illnesses. To make matters worse, Carol became ill and missed two weeks of work, falling behind in her rent. This had never happened to her before, and she began to panic.

Between jobs

To spend more time with her son, Carol took a new job that provided flexible hours. She gave two weeks of notice at the insurance company, but unfortunately that firm terminated her immediately and her new job did not start for two weeks. This left Carol with no income. Her son’s father was already $16,000 in arrears for child support and could not help. Carol’s mother receives Social Security and her child receives SSI benefits, but this income would not cover the rent. By the time Carol would receive her first check from the new job, she’d be two months behind on her rent.

Groceries, clothing, and rent assistance

She was deeply grateful when Together We Cope assisted her with the overdue rent. Then she began receiving groceries from our food pantry. Carol was tearful in her appreciation. This single mother explained how good it was to actually have some food in the refrigerator and freezer. She also received a voucher to shop at Nu2u, TWC’s resale shop, for much needed clothing for her growing son.

Advice on spending and saving

Carol was advised to use the money she saves on food and clothing to have funds available for rent and utilities in the future. Finally, this three-generation family was on its way to financial stability, and Carol’s son would have more time with his mother.