Giving Needed Help to a Constant Helper
Gloria’s first visit to The Salvation Army Midway Corps Community Center tells you a lot about who she is. Though the single mom of four was just making ends meet herself, despite working as both a classroom aide and a waitress, she was there to take a neighbor seeking assistance.
“That spoke a lot about her that she did that,” said Sandra Robinson, the emergency assistance worker at the Midway corps. She learned that Gloria* also volunteers in the community and is constantly helping others. “She has a good heart.”
When the pandemic struck and Gloria lost her waitressing job, she found herself in need of the same assistance she so readily gives to others. She got behind on bills, and soon ComEd told her she owed them $900. To make matters worse, she got COVID-19.
“I’m a hard worker and hate asking for help, but sometimes we all need some help,” Gloria said.
Lt. Dalvius King-Harvy, the corps officer at the Midway Salvation Army, was eager to offer that assistance, but was all out of funds. They’d used up their budget helping families facing similar challenges due to COVID-19 and had a waiting list for any financial assistance.
Thankfully, they recently received grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield and Lilly Endowment. These funds enabled them to provide Gloria rent and utility assistance as well as a COVID-19 relief package containing household supplies such as paper towels, detergent, cleaning supplies, and a first-aid kit.
“This help means the world to me,” Gloria said when she recently went to the Midway corps to pick up the relief package. True to form, she brought along a friend who was keen to receive information on the assistance available from the Army.
While there, Gloria also signed up for the Army’s Pathway of Hope program, which offers individual case management to help families become self-sufficient. Gloria’s first goal is going back to school.
“It’s very hard to find a career or good-paying job with minimum education,” she said. “I planned to go back to college to finish my bachelor’s but couldn’t working two jobs and supporting myself and my kids. Now that they are getting older, it is possible.”
After Gloria left, armed with two big boxes of assistance and accompanied by a friend ready to sign up for help herself, Sandra couldn’t contain her excitement. “I’m so giddy right now. Gloria is one of those clients who really reminds me why I do what I do,” she said. “It’s difficult to live paycheck to paycheck with nobody there to help you. That’s why The Salvation Army is here.”
*Name and details changed to protect client’s privacy.