“Some days I get overjoyed and I cry about how thankful I am. And sometimes crying heals the soul.”
That’s Tangejula speaking from her hotel room a few days ago, after learning she will stay safely housed during the current pandemic. All thanks to the community’s generous response to the COVID-19 crisis, including donations from people like you.
Just a week before, Tangejula was at the lowest point in her 49 years of life. The hotel she had lived in for several months was putting her belongings out on the street when she missed the deadline to pay her weekly rent. Her car broke down and was towed away, the expense of repairing it far beyond her means.
Standing outside the hotel, looking at her possessions piled on the sidewalk, Tangejula struggled to make a plan. Suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) makes it difficult for her to walk even a few yards without collapsing. Her fragile health also makes her extremely vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 and its potentially ravaging effects.
Something led her to Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Facebook page, where she poured out the details of her desperate situation. Just in time, her phone rang and a kind voice on the other end explained that there was help available to keep her safely housed.
Speaking from her room via video chat, Tangejula said, “I am just thankful because it could be a lot worse. I mean, imagine me being without the help. I would’ve been on the corner at a bus stop, crawled up in my fuzzy blanket.”
“I will not leave this blanket anywhere,” Tangejula says. “It’s soft and it’s warm and it was handmade.” It’s also a reminder that life hasn’t always been this hard. She bought it about a decade ago in New Mexico. Back then, she drove an eighteen-wheeler cross-country.
“That was the love of my life. Oh, just fond memories. The hard work, too,” Tangejula recalls with a smile. Money was no issue back then. She remembers helping family members financially and even shopping for her daughter’s prom dress on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
That all came to a screeching halt after a grueling cross-country haul about five years ago. She started feeling “hazy” in Maryland, then could barely get out of the truck in Maine. From there, she somehow made deliveries in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Raleigh, before finally arriving in Charlotte, where she was immediately hospitalized for two weeks before being diagnosed with COPD.
Adjusting to her disability wasn’t easy. She settled into a nice rental house on the east side of town and discovered a talent for baking. Tangejula pauses and sighs. “I haven’t baked in six months. That’s been one of the things I could channel my energy to is baking, and I haven’t been able to do that, and it’s been very sad.”
Everything happened so quickly, she could hardly believe it. The owner suddenly decided to sell the property, giving her only 30 days to vacate the premises. Her monthly disability income wasn’t enough to meet the “three times the monthly rent” amount most landlords were requiring. After applying for several rentals, and losing the mandatory application fees, she settled into a weekly-rental hotel. Her income covered three weeks out of each month. For the fourth, she packed up her belongings and settled into her car until the next month’s check arrived. For six months, that was the rhythm of Tangejula’s life.
Looking back on that awful day when it seemed there was nowhere to turn, Tangejula is so grateful. She’s grateful to people like you whose generous support is keeping her safely housed during the COVID-19 crisis.
Right now, you can extend this life-changing support to more people. That’s because a generous group of individuals has committed to match your gift (up to $250,000) through April 30.