Last month, one of our Agency Relations Coordinators, Melanie Hager, was able to go above and beyond for a woman in need in Williamson County, Illinois. Below she shares her story.
I was at Williamson County Programs on Aging conducting a CSFP training/meeting with our contact, MaryJane Fuller. She had just met with a woman and was very shook up after their meeting. Mrs. Fuller had explained to me that the woman and her husband, 64, were living off of less than $600 a month, that they received through her disability benefit. She is disabled due to working in construction her whole life. Her husband is also disabled but has been denied the disability benefit on multiple occasions. This couple is barely surviving, eating only three meals a week because all of their income was going toward their utility bills and medication.
When the woman returned to the office to turn in her paperwork I asked if she was able to sit down and talk with me, she agreed and I had her reiterate her story.
After she was finished, I began spouting off all of the different programs that she would be eligible for: Soup Kitchens, Pantries, SNAP, CSFP, LIHEAP Energy Assistance, Medical Assistance, Temporary Cash and Social Security.
She was overwhelmed with the amount of information we were able to supply her with. She was not aware of all of these services or that you can begin collecting social security at 62, they were under the impression that it was 65.
We were then able to sign her and her husband up for the CSFP Senior Box Program, as well as SNAP, LIHEAP Energy Assistance, Medical Assistance, Temporary Cash, Prescription Assistance, Referred to Pantries and Soup Kitchens and even getting the ball rolling on Social Security Benefits.
She was in tears and full of gratitude. She hugged us both continuously and was extremely grateful for all of the services that we were able to provide her with. As tears fell from all of our eyes she thanked us for everything we had done. She did not realize that these services were provided, especially in a rural community. It was a beautiful moment to share this information with her and to show her that the Foodbank isn’t just about food. Connecting people to resources can change lives.
Days like this truly help me appreciate my job!