Meet Donald*, a retired disabled veteran. He is a warm, irresistibly funny gentleman. He suffers from multiple chronic illnesses that require numerous medications that leave his immune system depleted and receptive to even the mildest infections. To maintain his health, he has severe dietary restrictions including a low-sugar, low-sodium diet with plenty of fresh produce. That’s where PROP food shelf, our community partners and you come in!
Meet Carol* – a successful, college educated, mom of three young kids. She worked full-time overseeing a large and growing staff and her husband worked nights so he could be available to watch the kids during the day. Each day was exhausting and stressful. For Carol, she thought that “managing it – stress and all”, was just the price you had to pay to live the American Dream.
But the stress did take its toll. Not only was she the major bread winner and primary caregiver for her young children, but a change in management at her company strained her further. Her daily duties now revolved around employee conflict resolution. In short, now her days left her emotionally and physically spent – her tank had run dry. Then one day, she just broke down. It was like something just snapped and she felt overwhelmed and anxious….in her words, she felt frozen.
Carol went on administrative leave and sought the help of a therapist. The diagnosis surprised Carol, it was determined that she was suffering from a form of mental illness. All of a sudden, she went from being able-bodied to disable-bodied in one fell swoop. Her life continued to spiral downward: she lost her job, she depleted her retirement assets while trying to maintain a normal life while unemployed; and while she continued seeing a therapist she often found herself feeling out-of-control, depressed, angry and overwhelmed. After an emotionally draining night bickering with her family, she realized if she couldn’t take care of herself – financially, physically, mentally or emotionally – how could she take care of her family?
Feeling alone, isolated and without much support, Carol turned to PROP looking for “a hand up, not a hand out.” She found that and then some. PROP offered her family healthy and nutritious foods, energy assistance and financial mentoring. For her kids, they received back to school supplies, holiday gifts and youth scholarships. PROP also provided additional resource connections that Carol needed to be able to provide a stable life for her family.
Today, with PROP’s help, Carol is coping well with her illness and her family life has stabilized.
“PROP is making a difference on a daily basis in the lives of those people in our community most in need of support and assistance. I’m still concerned and fearful of the future, but I leave PROP each day hopeful and happy.”
*Not real name or photo