Many of PROP’s clients can’t afford to send their kids to summer camps. With a little help from PROP some dreams do come true. Here is one.
Casey, a 10-year old girl who always loved collecting toy ponies, was able to attend a five-day horseback riding camp in summer of 2014. She was thrilled to ride a real horse and even got to pick a horse of her favorite color. Thanks to PROP.
Maria, a single mom with two children came to PROP in pain, from an infected tooth. Her dentist would not help unless she paid in advance, and the tooth couldn’t be pulled or it would have created bigger problems later. Her choice was to pay the rent or take away the pain. She chose rent and went to PROP. PROP found a dentist for her and provided funds for the first payment. A payment plan was worked out and the kind dentist even gave a discount. With Youth scholarships from PROP, both her boys were able to participate in sports activities with children of their own age. PROP also referred her to English as a Second Language(ESL) classes, which she is attending now. She continues to use PROP Food Shelf, and Summer Food For Kids. She is working and her family is stabilized.
Leyla*, a vulnerable adult client, used PROP’s food shelf and occasionally got help with utilities and scholarship services. During a recent meeting with her, PROP’s Case Manager was concerned about her and after assessment found that she was dealing with increasingly debilitating mental health challenges. She was hesitant about approaching the county for help as she fought to keep her independence. PROP was able to build a plan with Carver County Social Services and Love Inc. to get Leyla access to the mental health and wrap around resources she needed. In meantime, Leyla continued to use the food shelf at PROP, but all other care was provided at the county level.
Carlo an Eden Prairie resident was between jobs and needed help getting back on track. He first met with PROP’s employment counselor to get some help with finding new employment (resume, networking, interviewing skills, etc.). Like all new PROP clients, Carlo met with a Case Manager for a comprehensive analysis of his situation, to fully understand his needs and challenges. During this interview it was clear that he was not eating regularly, either. He was very hesitant to mention this. He was ashamed to ask for this help. Our Case Manager compassionately helped him realize that many people need temporary help when they are going through a change or crisis and getting food assistance is nothing to be ashamed of – that’s why PROP is here. He now continues his job search, with improved skills and a full stomach.
An Eden Prairie school social worker learned from a child she was working with that there wasn’t any food at home. Mary and John were trying to get by, thinking that they have to make it on their own. Fortunately, the social worker reached out to the family and encouraged them to call PROP. They did, their needs were assessed, and they immediately got help with food assistance, including monthly grocery orders and weekly visits to the pantry for fresh produce and bread. PROP also referred the family to additional services in the neighborhood, so they could benefit from them, as well. They are now in a much more stable space- no more food insecurity.
Myrtle, an Eden Prairie senior citizen, lived in a nice apartment building, which provided her with access to social services that she needs as she ages. However, her disabilities kept her from being able to go grocery shopping, so she had no way to get food on a regular basis. In addition, because of a fixed income, she could not afford enough food to keep her healthy. Imagine Myrtle’s delight when PROP began monthly food delivery to her building! Now she not only had food in her cupboards, but gets fresh produce, canned goods, lots of yummy breads and even some desserts! She is now in a much more secure, less vulnerable position, with dependable source of food. Thank you PROP!
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.