You never know what’s going to happen at NNEMAP Food Pantry. Take this recent customer’s adventure, for example. Kendra (name changed) sent a request for free grocery delivery service right after the New Year. It was January 4th–our first business day of 2021. Pantry Manager Jim Hamberg called Kendra back to confirm the request and set up a delivery time. Business as usual.
The next day, business took an unusual turn. Kendra called Jim back to cancel the delivery request. “I do not have money for rent, so I am probably going to get evicted. I don’t know where we will be, so I don’t know where to tell you to deliver,” she explained.
A year ago, Kendra was a working, single mother of a middle-school aged son. Like many families, they had enough to get by as long as nothing crazy happened. Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The first wave of shutdowns left Kendra without a job. After finally finding a new, full-time job that would be sufficient to support her household, she was diagnosed with Covid-19 as part of a final, pre-employment screening. After seeing the positive Covid test, the employer rescinded Kendra’s job offer.
In less than 48 hours, Kendra and her 12-year-old son were going to be out on the street in the dead of winter with no food and no place to go. That was not acceptable. Jim and NNEMAP Food Pantry Executive Director Roy Clark found a nearby organization that would help Kendra pay her rent. A couple of phone calls later, Kendra’s rent was paid and she could stay safely at home.
Crucially, avoiding eviction will keep a blemish off Kendra’s credit rating–a negative mark that could haunt her for years to come. Also, staying in her home meant Kendra’s son would not miss any school time or transfer to a new school. Countless studies have shown that the effects of missed school time or transferring to a different school have a devastating effect on academic achievement. For a middle school student, missing school or being forced to transfer could have catastrophic effects.
Some quick thinking and good listening helped Kendra avoid a disaster–and helped her son stay on track in the classroom.
All in a day’s work.