Shawna’s Story

Shawna’s Story

Shawna*, a recent new mother, found herself struggling financially in the aftermath of unpaid maternity leave. Although her situation is unique, it reflects the reality of countless individuals facing financial challenges due to significant gaps in income.

A Delicate Balance Disrupted

Shawna’s journey into motherhood, normally a time for joy and the excitement of new beginnings, was overshadowed by financial strain. Depleted savings and the relentless pressure of mounting bills painted a stark picture of her reality. “I’m completely broke,” Shawna disclosed, her words reflecting a situation all too familiar for many. The cost of raising her child alone stretched her budget beyond its limits.

The Rent Dilemma

Faced with a rent of $1,200 and no means to cover it fully, Shawna was confronted with the imminent threat of instability. Referred by her pediatrician, Footbridge stepped in to provide $600 towards Shawna’s rent, as a part of a collaborative effort to support her. With this support Shawna was able to make up the other half, avoiding the disruption of eviction with a newborn.

“When you were able to help with my rent, you were able to give me a little bit of peace, a little bit of fresh air,” she shared. This sentiment underscored the everyday struggles of single parents balancing financial obligations and childcare. 

A quote from the article, reading "When you were able to help with my rent, you were able to give me a little bit of peace, a little bit of fresh air"

The Connections Between Poverty and Child Health and Wellness

Shawna’s experience is especially resonant during Poverty Awareness Month, as financial strain, whether stemming from unpaid maternity leave or any other source, has been shown to have long-lasting negative impact on childrens’ health. Timely, targeted support by organizations like Footbridge, contributes to mitigating these crises and helping families recover quickly. As Shawna’s pediatrician shared, “By providing assistance now and connection to community resources we can anticipate that this baby and family will thrive because the financial burden will be decreased.”

A Community Effort

Shawna’s story is a reminder of the collective responsibility we share in supporting those in need. It’s a call to action for continued awareness and assistance, highlighting the importance of organizations like Footbridge in the broader context of community support systems.

* this name has been changed for privacy reasons