Every agency is asked to share an impact story as part of their year-end reporting. Below are a few stories shared by partner agencies as part of their 2015-16 year-end report:
Salvation Army of Jasper County
In December, a young couple who we had seen on a monthly basis for food assistance came into the office for food assistance. It was not a timely request, as the family had been to the Pantry two weeks prior. The caseworker working with the family assessed the immediate needs of the family. The young parents who both have learning disabilities had not finished the paperwork for their annual review for food assistance through the Department of Human Services. The caseworker gave assistance to fill out the food assistance application and fax it in to make the need very obvious to the DHS office. The family included two young sons, with one who was going to be celebrating his seventh birthday, and there was no EBT benefits to purchase a cake, or cake mix and the additional ingredients for the little boy’s birthday. The family was given food for an additional five days, and a cake mix and the ingredients for the cake.
The story does not end on the solving of the birthday cake and on a positive easy fix. DHS is working on a thirty day turnaround for food assistance.Therefore the gap or bridge is huge to feed a family of four with no parent working, and no food assistance. The young father, making decisions for the family chose to go to the grocery store and walked away with a cartful of groceries. He was apprehended four blocks away pushing the cart of groceries.
In addition to all the problems the family was dealing with, now was the criminal offense of theft and the amount of groceries that were in the cart made the offense a felony. The family came in the next day, and was sobbing and embarrassed of their choices and now had to deal with the downfall of the criminal offense in addition to the young father being recently diagnosed with diabetes and not having any insurance benefits to pay for his medical needs, appropriate medication to regulate the disease, and an impending eviction of their home. The medication was covered in full to regulate the disease, with the funding United Way contributions to The Salvation Army.
The family sat down and did extensive case management with the Salvation Army Case Worker. The medical needs, the food needs and assistance of case management effectively worked for the family. The family has a very happy, ongoing success story with credit given to the family who have been empowered by the staff and volunteers that work with the family on a daily basis.
Both young parents are working within the community, the children both received perfect attendance awards at school.
The family was assisted with relocating to a safe and friendly apartment complex close to their work. This was a collaborative, united relationship with several agencies to make sure all the family needs were taken care of and the mentoring of the family continues. The legal case was dropped to a serious misdemeanor, with probation instead of prison/jail time for the young father. The family comes to The Salvation Army for celebration of another step taken on the path to self-sufficiency and independence as they complete their self-set goals.