“It was a miracle, in so many words.”
That’s how Kim describes the feeling of relief from visiting Crisis Assistance Ministry.
That morning, she really didn’t know what was going to happen. She couldn’t believe how quickly everything had come apart. Not too long ago Kim and her two children (ages 12 and 5) were doing just fine. She had a good job in financial services where she had worked for 10 years with benefits, a 401(k), and medical insurance.
But then, disaster struck. A simple surgery led to complications and second emergency surgery. While recovering, she learned her department was being downsized and her job was being eliminated. Her time away meant she didn’t qualify for severance and soon she would be without medical insurance, too.
When the eviction notice arrived, she couldn’t even lift a box due to her surgery. Filled with worry, she was determined to find a solution. She turned to the community for help through Crisis Assistance Ministry.
Here, she met with a caring caseworker who listened to her situation, provided rental assistance paid directly to her landlord, and connected Kim with the agency’s extended casework program to work on stabilizing her situation and creating a plan to rebuild financial stability.
“Just being able to walk out of here without having to stress about ‘how am I going to tell my kids, how am I going to get my things out when I can’t even lift anything while recovering from surgery, where are we going to go, all of the things’,” says Kim. “It was a lot of relief to know that we were able to stay in our home just because of that [small] blessing to some, but a big blessing to us.”
Over the next three months, Kim met regularly with an Economic Mobility specialist while working multiple “gig” jobs and looking for more stable employment. Together, they worked on budgeting, financial management, goal-setting, and other tools to get back on her feet.
Kim’s self-professed persistence was an asset as she made hard choices and kept pursuing new opportunities. She visited the agency’s Free Store for clothing and household goods. A furniture referral allowed her to replace the children’s worn-out beds as well. She kept looking for new employment, sought out training through the Employment Security Commission, and kept plugging away at side jobs to stay afloat.
She enrolled in Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Customer Advocate training program where she practiced public speaking skills and gained insight into how her own story connects to the larger needs of low-income families in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. She began to think about using her own voice to effect change. On graduation day, she shared her dream of creating a nonprofit that connects single mothers to resources for family and financial well-being.
Kim’s journey has been a portrait of resilience and persistence. She recently landed a temporary job back in the financial industry she’s known for most of her career. She still has a daunting task in front of her as she climbs out of a deep financial hole. But, she’s determined to get her family back on track.
And she’s so grateful for those small miracles: help with rent to stay in her home, help to keep the lights on and the water running, and help to reclaim her voice and her family’s future. Seemingly basic things that have made a big difference for Kim and her children.
Each of those “miracles” was made possible by you, and others like you. Thank you.