FINANCIAL STABILITYUnited Way of Madison County empowers families and individuals, including veterans and seniors,
to gain skills and access resources needed to be financially independent.
Victoria, a 23-year-old living with kidney disease, is a daughter, sister, and friend. At the age of two, she was diagnosed with the disease and simultaneously lost her hearing because of the antibiotics used to save her life. She has been on dialysis ever since, but her positive attitude remains contagious. Even in the lobby of her dialysis clinic, she is known as the cheerleader. Her parents tell us, "She has come close to dying so many times, it just wasn't her time to go yet."
She currently live on a mere $733 a month thanks to disability benefits, but just received a new job as a cashier, about which she is very excited.
Over the years, the Alabama Kidney Foundation (AFK) has helped Victoria with transportation assistance and other financial needs, like paying a recent unusually high water bill resulting from a leak, the type of emergency financial situation the AFK works to rectify in order to relive the stress of financial crisis. Victoria thanks the Alabama Kidney Foundation, saying, "Without the support, I don't know what my family would do or where I would be."
Every Friday at school, Sarah picked up her "weekend backpack", a sack containing easy-open, non-perishable food items that her tiny elementary school fingers could open and prepare. Due to a disabling car accident, Sarah's mother was unable to provide an adequate amount of food for her and her daughter, and during this time Sarah was enrolled in Manna House's "PERKS" program for her weekend meals.
Eventually, Sarah's mother moved the two of them in with Sarah's uncle so he could care for them, and Sarah no longer needed her PERKS pack. Sarah asked her uncle if he could take her to Manna House so she could help pack the weekend backpacks she herself had once relied upon. Each week, Sarah and her uncle would volunteer at Manna House, and soon other students from Sarah's school were coming to volunteer as well.
Sarah shared that when she was receiving the backpacks, she would line up the food in the bag by days, so she would not eat too much on one day and then be hungry on Sunday. She also told how the bags made her happy, knowing that each Friday she was going home with food, and how her grades went up by having the food over the weekend.
The students that receive the backpacks face hunger in ways most adults have not, yet they speak with positive attitudes as they pack the weekend bags for others because they truly realize the impact they will have on the children who receive them.
Kim, a single mother struggling to make ends meet, and her teenage daughter were living in an apartment infested with mold. Her landlord was derelict in his responsibilities and refused to get the mold professionally removed, and so Kim and her daughter were forced to make several ER trips because of the sickness brought on from exposure to the mold. The frequent illness prevented Kim from being able to work and earn the income required to pay rent in a timely manner, and so she was forced to leave her apartment and move in with a friend. However, this "friend" was another absentee landlord that allowed her to move in with no deposit and assume the full responsibility of the mortgage payment; this friend also neglected to tell Kim that certain parts of the house had an all too familiar issue with mold and moisture retention.
Ongoing health problems and flucation in take-home income eventually led to Kim's auto insurance policy lapsing and eventually she was penalized for operating an uninsured vehicle. Finally, the last straw came when Kim received a notification stating that the home she was living in was in foreclosure.
Kim and her daughter were referred to LIFT Housing at Family Services Center, where her situation was assessed and she was given a unit where she and her daughter could recuperate physically and financially. With the security of her new affordable, stable, and healthy housing, Kim was able to find and keep a new job, and create and stick to a household budget. She became knowledgeable about her credit report, repaid several debts, and was able to take the additional necessary steps toward achieving her long-term goal of home ownership and self-sufficiency.