This post is brought to you in partnership with Crisis Assistance Ministry. All opinions are our own.
Everyone needs resilience because the only certainty in life is adversity. When catastrophe strikes – whether it’s ailing health, financial ruin or the death of a loved one – we are defined by how we overcome the pain and maintain hope.
Resiliency requires strength. It requires courage. And often, it means asking for help.
Here in Charlotte, when that disaster leads to a financial crisis, we have a pretty unique place to turn: Crisis Assistance Ministry. The local nonprofit helps Mecklenburg County families when they need it most.
That’s where we meet a portrait of resilience: Kim. Not too long ago, things were looking great for Kim and her two children. She had a good job, a dream job where she worked for 10 years, with benefits and 401(k). Then, disaster struck.
She suffered a life-changing medical emergency that required surgery and resulted in post-operation complications. While on medical leave, she learned her department was being downsized and her job was being eliminated. Her time away meant she didn’t qualify for severance and soon she would be without medical insurance, too.
Kim was left worrying about the financial stability of her family, while also fighting to recover from her surgery. It was a predicament that could have broken her spirit, but Kim pressed on. In need of a solution, she found Crisis Assistance Ministry, and the support to avoid homelessness and rebuild her family’s life.
She arrived worried about paying the rent and utilities. Without help, she feared she and her children might end up sleeping in the car or, if they were lucky, landing in a shelter. Crisis Assistance Ministry staff were able to disperse emergency payments to her landlord and utility companies to keep her housed.
After her situation stabilized, she began to work weekly with a caseworker on a plan to move forward. Through hard work and resilience, Kim rebuilt her budget, began to retrain for new employment, and is striving to put aside enough money for a rainy-day fund. One day, she hopes to buy her own home. She has also been able to pass along these vital life skills to her young children, helping them plan to achieve their own future financial goals.
“Growing up, I never had a conversation about money and now I am trying to teach myself and my kids with the knowledge I have learned at Crisis Assistance Ministry,” she said in an interview.
Generosity makes the difference
The independent nonprofit organization, which is fueled by generous donations and powered by an army of volunteers, is a one-stop shop for families and individuals facing financial hardships. Crisis Assistance Ministry provides families access to emergency rent and utility assistance, clothing and household items, free beds and furniture and help planning for the future. The nonprofit, which distributed more than $7.5 million in emergency rent and utility assistance in 2018, also guides its customers in creating a plan for self-sufficiency and financial security.
Crisis Assistance Ministry’s impact is bolstered by the local community. Volunteers donated more than 43,000 hours of service last year and local residents and businesses donated more than 1 million items of clothing and furniture. Financial contributions from individuals, businesses, and civic organizations are essential as well. The goal to prevent homelessness and preserve dignity is a noble endeavor everyone can support.
Kim says she wants people to “keep believing in the individuals” and wants them to understand that there are lots of people like her – people who do everything they are supposed to do to succeed, but still need help when things go terribly wrong.
The good news is that Kim was able to find the help she needed to recover. The bad news is that she’s not alone.
Right now, Crisis Assistance Ministry needs all of us to step up so help is available to the thousands of families across the region who face similar hardships every day. Thanks to Atrium Health’s Challenge you can double your impact on families in need with a gift before midnight on Tuesday. That’s because Atrium Health is matching gifts (up to $250,000) through the end of this month.
That means your donation will help twice as many families get on the path to financial security.
Want to learn more about Crisis Assistance Ministry? Click here for more information.