I had five kids when I was young, and I got benefits like health insurance, food stamps, housing, and everything. I was there. I was at the bottom. I had a boyfriend that was just bad news. I was pregnant with my fourth child, the third one with him, when he left me. And, at that time, I had moved in with my mom.
When I finally did start working, when the kids got a little older, I got fired a lot because I’d have to take off when they were sick. I wasn’t always showing up on time, which again was my fault. It was an endless cycle. So I was a stay at home mom for eight years. And what actually got me out was my husband. So here’s your love story. We were in school together, and he said he loved me then. I kind of ignored it because I liked the bad boys. And five years after we graduated, he showed up again. I said, ‘Hey, meet my mom and my four kids.’ He should have turned and ran away! He was in the Navy, so he would visit from where he was stationed in California. We kept in touch, started writing letters, and dating. He got out of the military, came back, and, once we got married, he started providing. We slowly got off all of the help. We got insurance. We had another child, so we had five to raise. And we just slowly climbed out. And here I am today. We’ve been together 29 years.
We need programs to help people who are struggling. And I think they need a step up; a hand up. If you put them down all the time, that’s where they’re going to be. If you give them praise and a hand up, then they’ll rise above where they’ve been.
Our communities are only as strong as our people. And our people — our families, friends, and neighbors — are strong when they have access to the food, shelter, health care, and economic support they need to lead healthy lives. This is true no matter who you are or where you live. When we look out for one another, we all see #TheNetBenefit.