After being evicted from a home with no electricity, Christine and her four children have been homeless for more than two years. The elementary school her two youngest children attend connected her with several social services, including a program that provides her family with a backpack of food to get through the weekends when school is out and free meal programs are closed.
1. Getting Connected
Christine: When we became homeless it was like kind of hard getting the kids back and forth to school so I came to the school for transportation and need for them to get back to school because they were concerned about the kids missing a lot of days. So, as we did that they introduced me to a lot of programs like the pantry food program, the backpack program, the help for the homeless program. They have a lot of good programs here.
2. Taking Care of Everyone
Christine: I feel grateful, I’m forever grateful, I’m blessed but sometimes I feel as though I have failed my kids. And the reason why I say that is because I’m used to working, but since I’ve been sick and had a lot of health issues and I’m not capable to working no more it feels like I’ve failed my kids because when I was able to work, I was able to do these things, so now all the things they want to do, I’m not able to do.
3. Teaching Patience
Christine: When they see food, they go crazy. Like my youngest son, he’s six and he eats from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to sleep and his favorite fruit is bananas. So if he has like six or seven bananas in the house, he’s going to try to eat all them bananas at one time. He’s not going to save none for tomorrow. So I be like ‘James you know you’re going to want some tomorrow, Mommy don’t have no money to get no more snacks. So it’s either you are going to save one for tomorrow or you’re going to eat it now?’ And he be like, ‘I’ll save this one for tomorrow’. So he’s starting to learn how to save. My youngest daughter, she really, she understands and she be like ‘All right mommy we can save this for tomorrow’. It’s kind of hard because I don’t like denying the kids of nothing to eat. My grandfather always told me if a kid hungry, if they going to eat it, let them eat it. I try to let them eat but I try to also know that we have to improvise a little bit for the next day, It gets heartbreaking sometimes when you have to tell them that sometimes, it really does.
4. A Mother’s Sacrifice
Christine: I’m not really a big eater, when I do eat, I eat a lot. But then I just learned, since I been going through the struggles, like sacrifices. So, majority of the time, I just starve myself to make sure they eat. I would eat like a sandwich and then they will be like ‘Mom go ahead and eat you can get another one’. But sometimes I just won’t eat so it could be enough for them.
5. Willing To Help
Christine: Actually he’s going on a job interview now at Pizza Hut. I hope he get it because the only thing he keeps talking about is ‘Mom if I get this job, we are not going to be living like this for long’. He’s just determined. I pray that he gets it because he’s mature and he’ll be 17 in September and he’s almost out of school. It just makes me feel so proud, real proud. He gets up in the morning he be like ‘Mom I’m not going to school today because I got this job interview’. He’s real motivated and he’s a real smart and intelligent young guy. He never misses school but for some reason for these last two weeks he’s just been (saying), ‘I’m going to look for a job, I’m going to help you Ma. My sister and brother, we not going keep living like this’. So it helps.