Marcy is a hard working mother and grandmother whose world came crashing down after becoming a victim of a financial crime. She had no safety net and she began to fall behind on her rent and electricity and was on the verge of homelessness. She was working full-time, but her income was not enough to support the basic needs of her family of four children and one grandchild.
Pictured: Marcy (left), a client of Catholic Charities of Central Florida meets with her case manager, Adriana Santos (right). Marcy was facing a financial crisis in her life when she received emergency financial assistance and case management — the lifeline she needed to keep her family from becoming homeless.
Marcy puts her family first and had to make difficult decisions to provide for their needs.
“Being a mother, I make sacrifices. And I don’t buy myself anything. When school started, I sacrificed some of my bill money in order to make sure my kids had the things that they needed for the first few weeks of school. I’ve always been playing catch up. But today is a new day,” said Marcy.
With nowhere to turn, Marcy came to Catholic Charities of Central Florida asking for help.
Sandy Diaz, a case manager with Emergency Family Services at Catholic Charities, listened to Marcy’s situation and provided her with emergency financial assistance so that she and her family could stay in their apartment and food assistance so that Marcy and her family would not go hungry.
In addition, Diaz referred Marcy to the Family Stability Initiative, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida. The program’s goal is to keep families in their home so that children will not be moved from school to school during a period of financial crisis.
Marcy met with Adriana Santos, a case manager at the Family Stability Initiative, who developed a comprehensive plan that helped Marcy responsibly manage her finances to prevent a financial meltdown in the future.
Her case managers helped her budget her expenses, grow her savings account and also provided life coaching so she would have the confidence she needed to believe in herself.
“My case manager helped me understand that this is not going to last forever,” Marcy said. “Words cannot express the help that they give you and the people that they place in your life in order to help you, to console you, to guide you, direct you and also to love you.”
Catholic Charities of Central Florida’s Emergency Family Services program offers support and compassion to people like Marcy who find themselves in an unexpected financial crisis. Through financial assistance and case management, the program helps individuals and families become self-sufficient.
Unfortunately, Marcy’s story is not unique. According to Florida KIDS COUNT, there are 599,613 people living in poverty throughout Central Florida. About half are children.
“During a financial emergency, our friends and neighbors often risk losing everything – home, family, health,” says Joseph Buranosky, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida. “As Catholics, we are blessed by the realization that all we have comes from God. And when we share these gifts with those who are suffering, we are bringing God’s hope to those in need.”
On the weekend of November 1 and 2, Catholics in the Diocese of Orlando will have the opportunity to share their blessings and “Bring God’s Hope to Those in Need” during the annual parish collection for Catholic Charities of Central Florida. This collection is critical for preventing homelessness in Central Florida and helps individuals and families pay for rent, utilities, food and emergency medical expenses.
“God’s mercy, expressed through our good deeds, brings forth hope among the people with whom we live, work, socialize and minister,” said Bishop John Noonan urging the faithful to respond to our brothers and sisters in need. “Understanding how we express God’s hope through His mercy is a profound path to holiness.”
“We honor the people served by Catholic Charities of Central Florida as we minister to them, acknowledging their dignity as children of God,” Bishop Noonan added.
Last year, more than 11,000 individuals and families received hope and opportunity through donations made during the 2013 annual collection for Catholic Charities of Central Florida.