Six weeks off a job and earning only partial wages can wreck even the most careful budget.
The woman came to the GraceWorks office in March. She has a full-time position at Vanderbilt, but an unexpected mastectomy and ensuing recovery time kept her home until late April. She luckily was eligible for short-term disability pay, but it is only a percentage of her regular salary.
“I wasn’t prepared for the surgery. The problem was found, it was needed to be taken care of and it was taken care of, but I wasn’t prepared for these things, neither economically nor mentally,” she said.
She needed help with the two months’ utility bills, and she also received a shopping cart of food to get the short-term aid she so desperately needed.
Despite the urgency of her need, asking for help was difficult, she said. She has always been able to take care of herself, but the unforeseen time off and medical expenses took her under temporarily.
“GraceWorks was superb at helping me,” she said. “They were most, most gracious. It was so nice, because it was a very humbling experience to ask for help. I’ve always been on the other side of the coin. I have volunteered at GraceWorks at Christmas as an interpreter, at the backpack event and at the Cinco de Mayo event.”
Like this woman, many people come to GraceWorks for temporary help caused by a medical event, an accident or a loss of job. Help with a bill or rent or food is sometimes all they need to get back on their feet and able to take care of themselves again. Help at these critical times can make the difference between a family gaining financial independence or starting down a spiral of poverty and dependence on others merely to survive.
—By Kathi McClure