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Food Aid Helps Family Survive Rough Time

Photo - Charlene and Mike

Late last spring, two hard-working parents, Charlene and Mike, experienced a crisis they never envisioned for themselves and their two boys, ages 10 and 16. They were faced with the possibility of a foreclosed home, utility shut-offs, and hunger.

Mike, who worked in the skilled trades, was laid off with no certainty of a recall. He searched daily for jobs and followed every lead, but did not find work. Charlene worked part-time as a classroom aid at a middle school, but she didn’t earn enough to support the family and was going to be off work the entire summer.

Worried about losing their Oakland County home, they were even more concerned about buying food, paying utility bills, and putting gas in their cars. They needed immediate, temporary help until Mike could find another job.

While seeking medical assistance for their children at the public health department, Charlene and Mike were referred to a nearby Gleaners’ pantry. Before this point in their lives (they are both in their 40s), they had never sought assistance of any kind.

Along with receiving emergency food that day, a Gleaners’ SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) outreach worker located at the pantry helped Charlene apply for a Bridge Card to assist with the family’s food costs over the next few months.

Fortunately, Mike found a job within four months, and Charlene resumed work at the school in September. And, while the temporary assistance from the Gleaners pantry and the Bridge Card helped them stay fed and keep their home, they are pleased to be back at work and supporting their family independently — the way they prefer.