When it rains, it pours.
Maria would know. For the past three years, her family has battled poverty as her husband, injured in an accident, has struggled to find and maintain work.
But Maria, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, has kept her family afloat thanks to Catholic Charities, one of 15 area charities receiving grants from The Gazette–El Pomar Empty Stocking Fund.
In 2008, the charity’s Life Support Services program provided her with utility and rent assistance, clothing and Christmas presents for her kids when her family was at its most vulnerable point: foreclosed on and on the verge of eviction from a rental home.
“They helped me a lot,” Maria said. “I don’t know where I’d be living right now without them.”
This year, tragedy struck yet again when Maria’s house was burglarized.
Thieves took her husband’s tools, her children’s toys and the money the family had set aside for the month’s bills.
Since the break-in, Maria has returned to the charity for assistance with providing birthday and Christmas presents for her daughters.
“I can’t even explain how thankful I am for all the help,” she said. “I can’t even express how all the help changed my life.”
Originally from Mexico, Maria is working on obtaining legal residency and a work permit so she can help support her family.
Until then, the stay-at-home mom knows that Catholic Charities will be there for her if she needs assistance.
“Every day, I know they can help me,” she said. “Sometimes they help me a couple times a month, sometimes more. It depends how I am that month.”
Their kindness has inspired her to give back what she can.
“Sometimes I donate my girls’ clothes that don’t fit anymore,” she said. “I know that they will help somebody else.”