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A Teen’s Gratitude: Jaida’s Story

Being a teenager is hard for many reasons. Jaida is 15 years old, and she should be getting ready to drive and thinking about what she’ll wear to the next school dance. But her life hasn’t been typical or easy for the last couple of years.

Jaida spends most of her time at her grandmother’s house because her mom works so much. Her grandmother has had two recent surgeries, making work almost impossible. Now the family tries to make ends meet on their grandmother’s small, fixed income.

People on a porch

“Being on a fixed income, it’s difficult because you’ve got to budget, and you only get it once a month. You don’t get a paycheck every week or every two weeks like some people do. It’s difficult, and me trying to provide for my four grandchildren and my great-granddaughter, the essentials they need is really difficult and challenging to me,” said Jaida’s grandmother, Dolly.

The family has come to rely on the help of a local organization, the Buffalo Dream Center in upstate New York, which is a Feed the Children partner agency.

“When we get food stamps, and we’re out before the end of the month. They’ll come and they’ll give us food and that’ll help out a lot because we’ll be out of food for a couple of days until my mom gets her food stamps,” Jaida told us.

The holidays and the beginning of the school year are also tough for the family. Jaida doesn’t get to pick out new clothes and a backpack like her classmates. Some years she hasn’t had any school supplies at all.

“The first year I was scared to go in without any school supplies because usually the teachers would be like, well, if you don’t have something, go grab it from the back of the classroom. And I’d be the only one getting up to go grab something.”

Because of the generosity of people like you, Jaida and her siblings were able to get school supplies from the Dream Center. The center has also helped Jaida and her family during the holidays.

People on a porch with boxes

“Since we started going to the Buffalo Dream Center, we really didn’t have to worry about that because they always come with food and on the holidays, we didn’t have that much for Christmas. And we went to the Buffalo Dream Center, and they gave us gifts and a whole lot of things for the holidays. It was really nice, and it helped out a lot,” Jaida said.

For her grandmother, the extra help has brought a lot of relief and gratitude.

“What a life saver,” Dolly said. “I want to give a big thank you to the Buffalo Dream Center and Feed the Children. It is very helpful, and they help a lot of people.”

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