I don’t know that this will reach the people it needs to reach, but I hope it will. My family and I have had a tough, tough time over the last three years. It was only toward the end that I found several of these sources of help – it would have lessened the strain and stress I was under had I found them sooner. Some of these are specific programs, some are simply ideas of places to START looking. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help; that’s the reason these programs exist.
- FAMIS or state medical insurance for children – FAMIS is Virginia’s version of affordable insurance for children; other states may have their own. I found a link from the US Department of Health and Human Services about state insurance for children called Insure Kids Now!
- Local shelters for women/families
- Local churches
- Programs that help people “dress for success” – providing clothing for interviews and new jobs
- Health departments/clinics
- Ask about payment plans; some places are willing to work with someone who can’t pay the whole bill at once.
- If you happen to have to go to the emergency room, explain your situation and ask if there is anything they can do to help or if there is a program in place in the hospital.
- One suggestion I have is to reach out; yes, it is humbling, yes it is difficult, but it can provide enough relief from the strain to get you through the tough times. Ask. Simply ask. Ask your child’s teacher if there is anything available through the school; my son’s preschool actually sent information home before Christmas about programs available for families in need. Ask around the city government offices, or check out their website (you should be able to do that at the library for free).
- Seek out the groups that help communities: the Salvation Army, church groups, etc. You should be able to find someone at the donation sites or the thrift store (if they have one) that you can talk to privately or quietly to the side.
- Look for clothes and other things at thrift stores; you can often find decent clothes (et cetera) for low prices. Yes, some things are damaged, but plenty of people donate nice things that have been “gently worn” or “gently used”. Check it out.
I just hope someone reads this and reaches out. I wish that I had. Yes, things are improving for me now, but I think that I made my own situation worse – or at least more stressful – but not seeking the help that I should have. Looking back, it seems like it should have been common sense to find these groups and ask for help, but at the time…well, depression can cloud your judgment and pride can make it difficult.
God bless anyone who reads this and is struggling; I’ve been there and I understand. Trust me – someone around you, someone near you can help. Reach out.