Rita has had some unlucky breaks to say the least. The first came when she was kicked out of her house and disowned by her family for becoming pregnant. Then she struggled as a single mom, hardly able to find a job to support herself and her children.
“I felt like I might have lost my kids a couple times.”
Without a steady job, Rita couldn’t afford rent or a mortgage. Her small family became homeless, sleeping on friends’ couches. They eventually found help at a shelter, giving them some stability, a safe place to rest and a reliable meal.
One night Rita's four-year-old son Sebastian made an innocent confession while they were at the shelter.
“Mommy, I wished upon a star that we can get our own place.”
His words tore Rita apart. “I actually went to the bathroom, and I cried. It really just hurt me a little bit because I didn't want my kids to go through none of that.”
Despite the hurt, Sebastian’s wish came true. Two weeks later, Rita was able to get an apartment. For Rita, the joy of having her own place was the first glimmer of hope in more than a decade.
“When I found out I got my own place it was like Christmas, Thanksgiving, all the holidays, even my birthday in one.”
With her housing squared away, Rita focused on her next hurdle – not having enough food for herself and her children.
“My kids eat up everything.”
Even with a paycheck coming in, Rita still has a hard time getting everything her two kids need.
“I'll have enough one month, then I won't have enough the next month. So, I go to food pantries and places that actually help out. That's how me and my kids eat most of the time.”
Rita has been going to a local Arkansas organization called LOVE: Healing Waters. The agency has been a Feed the Children partner for years.
“You feel like the world is against you a little bit, but then there's people like Healing Waters that helped me out and made me feel like there is such thing as good people out there.”
Besides food, Rita is able to get hygiene products, cleaning supplies and other household items from LOVE: Healing Waters and Feed the Children.
“They help with tissues. They have the Pull-Ups for my son. They have dishwashing liquid and some little odds and ends like toothpaste and stuff like that, sanitary napkins, and stuff.”
Local partners like LOVE: Healing Waters are able to help families like Rita’s because of Feed the Children’s donors. Their generosity helps bring food and other necessities to more than 700 community partners around the country, ensuring help is readily available.
For Rita, having the support and love of people who care and not having to spend all her money on food and household essentials has helped her wishes comes true.
“They gave me stability to be able to feel like: okay, I got this. I got this, I got this. I just have come a long way, a long, long way.”