When Carrie, a single mother of four, needed help the United Way of Berks County referred her to Friend, Inc. Seeking assistance for her family through the food pantry, Carrie called Friend, Inc. She met with a case manager and was enrolled in the food pantry and also applied for benefits from the Department of Public Welfare. Carrie works full time as a waitress and works six days per week. After her divorce 2 years ago, things have been tight for Carrie and her children. They had to find a new place to live and are now renting a small home. The family was just making ends meet and were never too late with rent or bills, until recently. Carrie had to take time off of work to take care of her youngest daughter. She had numerous appointments, which meant Carrie was forced to take time off work, losing hours and pay. It didn’t take too long for Carrie to fall behind on her rent. She was given a letter that stated she needed to pay the past due amount in 20 days or her landlord will be forced to start the eviction process.
Carrie called her case manager and explained all the details of her recent struggle. Friend was able to come up with some funds to put toward her rent also assisted by a local service organization which Friend referred her to. With the help of Friend and the local service organization Carrie was caught up on her rent. She, along with her four young children, were no longer in fear of being forced to leave their home. With the help of the food pantry, financial assistance, information and referral, and assistance in applying for benefits Carrie was able to overcome her struggles.
Felicia and her husband Derrick are raising their two young grandsons due to unforeseen circumstances. Derrick works full time with as much over time as possible to support their family. Felicia is unable to work due to health concerns. Because of the added financial responsibility there are some months when the family’s bills and expenses exceed their income. They tried their best to stay afloat and enrolled in the food pantry. When the family had no heat in the beginning of January, Felicia called her case manager at Friend seeking assistance. Friend’s case manager was able to help Felicia apply for LIHEAP benefits and get all the provided paperwork to the Department of Public Welfare. While waiting for approval from the Department of Public Welfare, Felicia’s family was still out of heating oil. Friend was able to provide emergency financial assistance for heating oil. Felicia’s case manager called the oil company and was able to schedule a delivery. Felicia was advised to attended money management classes held at Friend. Felicia was able to meet one on one with a mentor that helped her create a more concrete budget. Felicia met with her case manager after the classes had ended and she shared that she feels more financially secure.
Single mom Colleen was a reliable employee at a local convenience store for more than 12 years until she was involved in a car accident, which exacerbated some previous health conditions. Delays and problems with her disability application process caused her to exhaust her savings and retirement funds. Having nowhere else to turn she contacted Friend, Inc. where she was enrolled in the food pantry and received help with a portion of her rent. A case manager at Friend, Inc. also assisted Colleen and daughter Ann in applying for benefits such as SNAP, LIHEAP and PCAP. Later, when daughter Ann graduated from college and began working full time, staff at Friend, Inc. encouraged both mother and daughter to attend money management classes. They enrolled in the next class and participated enthusiastically! Months have gone by and Colleen and Ann still create monthly budgets and have been able to consolidate debt. They even began an emergency fund for unplanned expenses.