Single Father Struggling to keep lights on
Originally appeared in the Wichita Eagle, 11/21/21.
Roberto is a skilled worker. His many years of hard work and dedication to a job well done rewarded him with the security that comes from earning a steady income. His life was on track. Unfortunately, this year his steady, reliable path was interrupted. He was laid-off. He searched for a job and found one, but not before he had been unemployed for two months. While that may seem like a short time to be without income, for some it makes a huge difference.
Roberto’s daughter, now a college student, had recently moved back in with him. She has dreams of becoming a veterinarian or maybe joining the Air Force in a few years. Like all loving, supportive fathers, Roberto doesn’t mind what she decides to do. He just wants to make sure she has a comfortable home and that she “gets a good education.”
Before he was laid-off, Roberto traveled back and forth between his home in Wichita and his job in Hutchinson. The long commute had taken its toll on his vehicle and the soaring fuel prices cut into his budget. Not only that, but Roberto also had a past-due balance with his utility company. Roberto had to prioritize. He decided that even though his car needed repair or replacement, it would have to wait. To avoid utility service disruption, he agreed to a twelve-month, average payment plan. The plan would divide his past-due balance into twelve equal monthly installments that would be added to his current monthly charge. It turned out that the monthly total was just too high to manage. He needed help.
Roberto contacted The Salvation Army. He applied for assistance through the Share the Season program. On his application Roberto wrote, “This gift would be a first time for me. It would help out tremendously and help us get back on track.” The program did just that. It helped Roberto support his daughter and her dreams, keep his new job, manage an overwhelming utility services balance, and get his life moving in a forward direction.