All of us have been impacted by COVID-19. But many low- to moderate-income households face particularly extreme hardships as they struggle to make ends meet. Many clients tell us that food insecurity is their most pressing challenge. Bridges’ program staff continues to keep a laser focus on providing information about community resources (food banks and pop-up pantries, ethnic food warehouses, etc.) as well as delivering grocery store gift cards to households in need.
Other families like Mariel’s are working hard to remain stably housed. Mariel and her husband moved to the United States nearly 20 years ago, to seek a brighter future for themselves. Over the next 10 years, they had two children and stayed employed at landscaping and restaurant jobs despite not having legal status. When Mariel’s husband was deported in 2014, she considered moving back to Mexico, but she realized that her children, now teens, have much better opportunities in the United States and have lived here in Howard County all their lives. She and her two children have been good tenants for many years.
“I’ve tried to be a good person and raise good kids,” says Mariel. “It’s a much better life for them here. All I’ve been doing is working, working, and working. My goal has been to provide everything for my kids.” Early in the pandemic, Mariel was laid off from her restaurant job of 13 years and has been unable to apply for unemployment benefits because she is an undocumented immigrant. While she waits to be rehired, Mariel has been working odd jobs for cash – driving, cleaning, and anything else she can find. Mariel is a role model of determination. She says, “I’ve had to deal with a lot of things. I try to make the best out of any situation that comes my way. Bad times show you what you can handle and what you’re capable of. I’m trying my best.”
Bridges is honored to work with Mariel and provide rental assistance as well as food and basic necessities for her family as she works to find additional work in the coming weeks until she can return to her job as restrictions are lifted.
We recognize our clients’ hard work, determination, and perseverance as they continue to strive for stability and a higher quality of life. Bridges’ staff will continue to support them on their journeys to self-sufficiency.