A dedicated mother of two and full-time employee, Brittany’s* life mirrored the struggles and triumphs of many single parents. But in one moment, everything changed. Her daughter’s suicide attempt plunged Brittany into emotional and financial turmoil.
Brittany elected to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for her child, but this came with a heavy cost – no income during her absence from work. “Due to the amount of days that we get off throughout the year, they do not have paid leave,” Brittany explained. The reality of not being able to afford a babysitter for her night shifts added to her distress. She was offered the option to bring her other child to work, but the late hours made it an impractical solution. This unpaid time away from work was creating another crisis as Brittany was missing payments on her utilities, and she received a notice stating that the water service was at risk of being shut off.
Referred for assistance by her pediatrician’s office, Footbridge for Families intervened at this critical juncture, providing Brittany with $409 to cover her family’s water bill. This assistance, though seemingly modest, was significant in alleviating her immediate financial stress, allowing her to focus on her daughter’s recovery. “[Footbridge’s assistance] took a major worry off my shoulders because there are days where I stress and worry if I’m gonna keep the lights on or pay the car payment,” she shared. Her situation was a poignant example of how quickly life can veer off course, threatening the stability of even the most diligent individuals.
The Broader Context: Poverty Awareness Month
Brittany’s story takes on additional significance during Poverty Awareness Month. It serves as a stark reminder of the often thin line that separates stability from financial hardship. Her experience underscores the importance of understanding the dynamics of poverty – how unexpected life events can rapidly shift a family’s trajectory towards financial distress. Brittany’s story is a call to action for heightened awareness and support for those on the brink of financial hardship. It’s a reminder that even small assistance can have a profound impact on the lives of those in crisis.
* this name has been changed for privacy reasons