An independent woman who believes in hard work and who is rarely idle, Claire has worked minimum wage jobs most of her life never earning more than $25,000. However, Claire says that she had a comfortable life and was able to travel a little and do the things she enjoyed. In 2005 when she was laid off during a company merger she wasn’t concerned because she was willing to work and knew that she would find something. While seeking employment, Claire suffered a massive heart attack and underwent triple by-pass surgery. Though grateful to have survived the ordeal, Claire was left unable to work and without a source of income.
“You should never be too proud to ask for help.”
For the first time in her life Claire was forced to seek assistance. With the support of her family, Claire was lucky to be able to move into Hall Towers, a Greensboro Housing Authority apartment building for individuals over 55. Although her housing needs were met and her children were providing her with a small stipend each month, Claire still struggled to make ends meet while she awaited the approval of her Social Security Disability application. At the suggestion of neighbors, Claire turned to Greensboro Urban Ministry for food assistance.
For nearly two and a half years Claire utilized Greensboro Urban Ministry’s food assistance program to ensure that she had enough to eat. “It saved my life” says Claire as, with tears in her eyes, she recounts how the assistance bags bridged the gap until she was approved for food stamps. Once she began receiving government assistance, Claire stopped coming to Greensboro Urban Ministry as a client and began assisting with food drives.
Though still unable to work because of her on-going health issues, Claire is an active community volunteer. She shares her stories with individuals she meets and encourages them to realize that bad times can happen to anyone and when those bad times come, she’s grateful to know that there are community resources available to help.
Last year Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Emergency Assistance Program provided food assistance to over 13,000 individuals. According to Tyra Clymer, Emergency Assistance Program Director, “Many individuals we serve are seniors on fixed incomes who need a little support to make ends meet. We expect the number of these individuals to increase over the next year due to cuts to government feeding programs. Although we are seeing a record number of people, the community’s continual outpouring of support has made a tremendous difference in the lives of the people we serve.”