Life in the shadows – Blog Action Day 08

Posted on October 15, 2008


Today is the official launch of Blog Action Day 2008.  I thought and thought about what I would write about.  I’m not a writer, and if you read my blog I don’t sell any service.  This blog has always been and always will be a personal diary of my life for others to read and maybe learn from my mistakes or even find some sort of comfort in knowing they are not alone.  So, in keeping with my blog format, I’m going to blog about my life again. 

2005 – I was living in a home with an ex completely depressed and not knowing what to do.  I was verbally abused and was kept from working.  One day after having all the money drained from our bank account I had the electric company knocking at my door.  With a child in my arm in only a diaper in the dead of winter I was trying to convince them NOT to turn off my electric.  There was no way of convincing them.  Thinking about that day brings me to tears.  I was living a life where my other half could care less about anything and I had to finally say to myself “I’m poor, and need help”. 

I left that house and asked my mother for help.  The first order of business was to get me to a domestic violence shelter.  That was the easy part.  I then had to find every available resource that i could.  I was not about to have my children seeing me as the bad person.  I filled out paperwork for the Pennsylvania Assistance Office and started the process of being on welfare.  I was embarrassed of course, thinking that I was too good for it but what other choice did I have?  After all was said and done I was getting $400+ in food stamps and $400+ in cash assistance plus medical coverage, but it all came with a cost.

In order for me to receive the cash assistance I was going to need to take my children’s fathers to court for child support.  Easily said and done with the first one but not so much with the second.  I was able to help myself out, and sign a form of protection since he was the reason for the domestic violence.  The other condition I had to fulfill was to go to career training for 30 hours a week at the local Pennsylvania CareerLink.  I was in a class with others that were getting cash assistance from the state.  The classes were easy and most of the people there were trying to get their GED’s so they could find employment.  I was in these classes for months before actually finding an employer that would hire me.  Until that time the assistance office helped me with child care and every other means to gain employment.  That included clothes for interviews and even paying to go back to school or to pay for books. 

After getting my new job I knew I was still on a road to recovery.  I still had to save up money and start rebuilding my new life.  That meant that I still needed help.  Christmas was close and I didn’t know what I was going to do.  I talked to a few people and found many agencies that helped those in need like the Salvation Army that helps give needy families meals for Thanksgiving and Chrismas and also helps make sure that every child has something under their tree.  Another resource I found was Angel Food Ministries.  For a low cost, you can get enough food for about a month to help feed your family.  There are also a lot of local churches that help out families with coat drives to make sure every one stays warm and food banks. 

When the temperature started to fall, there was even help with that.  LIHEAP was a blessing for me.  They helped provide me with heating oil when I didn’t have the money to fill the tank with oil.  PPL also has a program to help lower the cost of your home energy with their WRAP progam.  Due to the high number of people applying you are on a waiting list but its still something to help. 

Now it is 2008 and even though I’ve been having a few bumps in my financial security, I’m 110% better off then I was a few years ago.  I couldn’t have done it without the help of all the area agencies out there to help.  It might take a while but with some hard work and some dedication *if I can do it* you can do it!