Tyler* is an industrious, bright young man, who just being out of his teenage years found himself in the position of being the only person in his household working. This caused quite a lot of tension between himself and his mom. Tyler realized that if he was going to be able to fulfill his dreams of going back to school and making a better life for himself, he needed to find a place of his own.
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.”
Paul and Rebecca were worried they would become homeless; already they were going without much food. First Paul’s company downsized, leaving him out of work. Then Rebecca had an unexpected health crisis that left her in the hospital for a month. Paul was in serious trouble and didn’t know what to do. He turned to PROP, he needed to feed his kids. But what he found was so much more. The case management team helped him apply for housing assistance and ultimately helped Rebecca and him keep their home. Without the worry of being hungry or homeless, Rebecca focused on healing and Paul found a job.
Meet Kathie Carr
We asked volunteer Kathie Carr questions about her volunteer experience. Kathie is the Summer Food for Kids Donation coordinator. You can read about Kathie below.
How did you First Get Involved with PROP?
After an early retirement, I was looking for a volunteer position. With a background in food service, I was most comfortable, and felt somewhat knowledgeable in the food arena. I was fortunate that at the time, there was a volunteer opening at PROP.
What has surprised you most about working at PROP?
I am still surprised that the need in our community is so great. EP and Chan are not cities that come to mind when you think that there are numerous people who need help with the basic necessities of living.
How is the summer different than the rest of the year for PROP?
With school out, the need is actually greater and yet the donations are much less. It is frustrating and difficult sometimes to be able to adequately fill an order for a family. On the plus side, with our great partners who have gardens, there is an abundance of fresh produce that our clients appreciate and look forward to.
What do you wish other people knew about PROP?
It would be nice if people remember that hunger is a 365-day problem, not just during the Holidays. There are ongoing needs too like personal care items, diapers and wipes and a simple treat like coffee that we can really never have enough of.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I am intimidated by both babies and technology. Afraid I will break something in either case.
What do you think will change about PROP over the next five years?
I think there will always be a need for help with food, housing and employment. I think the changes may come in the way they are perhaps provided. I see much of that happening just in the three years I have been here…technology has changed marketing, fundraising and donation approaches.
Give to the Max
Holiday Gift Giving
Housing – “Emergency Room”
Other Ways to Give (Stocks, ETc.)
BACK-TO-SCHOOL SUPPLIES PROGRAM
Eden Prairie Schools (EPS) families experiencing financial hardship can again pick up needed school supplies for their students at each school during Back-to-School Open House Nights at the end of August. Families do NOT need to register in advance. Grace Church, Life Church, Wooddale Church, Immanuel Lutheran, the Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools, PROP, EPS Community Education’s Family Resources Program, Eden Prairie Community Foundation, and various other businesses work collaboratively on this program to ensure all students have what they need to be successful in the new school year. More details are available on the 2019 Back-to-School Supplies Program website. Drop boxes are located at PROP (14700 Martin Dr.) and The Education Center (8040 Mitchell Road) if you would like to help contribute supplies for families in need.
If you are looking for a job, wanting to find a better job or ready to explore a new career path and not sure where to begin with searching for a job opportunity that fits your needs, skills, and interests, our on-site career counselor is here to help. Schedule your one to one appointment today.
Empty Bowls: ENDING HUNGER ONE BOWL AT A TIME
Together our community stands up and says, no more hunger, we are here for you! Join us for PROP’s 7th Annual Empty Bowls event – raising funds to end hunger that is right in our very own backyard.
MN Food Share: FIGHTING HUNGER THROUGH LOCAL COMMUNITY ACTION
The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign is the largest grassroots food and fund drive in the state to help stock food shelves. The campaign addresses the issues of food insecurity and poverty in our community. We invite businesses, faith communities, and individuals to join our efforts and re-stock the shelf!