Everything was going well for Teri and her daughters. As a single mom, it’s not easy, but Teri had a good job and she was able to provide for her family. (Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve.)
Then one morning she went to work, and, along with 1,900 other employees, was hit with the shocking news that the manufacturing plant was being closed.
How would she provide for 9-year-old Jackylee and 6-year-old Braylee?
“Everything became a struggle,” she remembers, tears streaming down her face. “I don’t have no help…and then my mama, she try to help me, too, but she’s struggling too `cause she’s on a fixed income…it’s a struggle, it’s hard.”
I asked Teri if she ever runs out of food.
“Yeah, I run out every month,” she says. “There are times like I got to the point where, like basically, we was all starving.”
“There are times like I got to the point where, like basically, we was all starving.”
And other times the family is down to the bare minimum.
“I really don’t be worried about me — I can go without — but like sometimes when they’re having to constantly eat noodles and stuff, it bothers me, they don’t so much complain, but it bothers me,” Teri says.
She tries to not let her girls see how hard this is for her, but they notice. Jakylee told her, “It’s okay mama. We know you do everything you can for us.”
Those simple words touched her heart: “It kind of broke me up.”
Like most parents, Teri has a strong sense of responsibility. In tears, she says, “I’m use to being able to give them whatever they want and I don’t like to have to ask people for help.”
And like most parents, she wants to protect her children from getting hurt. But one of her girls shared this:
“…about a week ago, she was telling me that some kid asked her, ‘Is that the only pair of shoes you got `cause you wear them every day?’ Like that did something to me — it made me mad that this kid did that, and then it hurt me too, `cause I’m like, what can I do `cause I don’t want my kids getting picked at because I fall short.”
Everything is a struggle — shoes, clothing, food.
Teri remembers having to tell Jakylee that she had cereal but not milk.
“She’ll be like, ‘I’m not hungry,’ and she’ll go to bed…” says Teri. “It’s like she just be trying to make it easier on me. But I know that `cause I know her and I know how she eat and for her to go to bed and say she’s not hungry, she ain’t going to eat, I know it’s not true.”
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