Back when the Challenge was in the planning stages I sent out a request for reader submissions. I received one that especially resonated with me. The writer had some health issues and was unable to work, and her spouse’s business had been dissolved. They had no income, and they were living off of their retirement savings.
I am the first to admit I have been truly blessed to have never been faced with a true financial crisis such as this and, compared to some, my debt free journey was relatively easy. Receiving this email made me realize there are some people out there in a financial crisis not of their own making due to illness, lay-off, accident, or some other situation. I did an online search for resources as well as asked some trusted advisors for some suggestions and here’s what I found…
Childcare.gov/Financial Assistance for Families
There are a number of government programs available to help with the cost of food, housing, and utilities. A comprehensive list of assistance programs can be found here.
Christian Assistance Ministry
According to their website, Christian Assistance Ministry “operates in two locations as an emergency room of social services. Our primary purpose is to help clients overcome barriers to help by providing immediate and easily assessable resources. Like an “emergency room”, we serve anyone in need and no appointment is required. Often people who have a onetime need or are in a chronic crisis don’t know where to turn, others may find long waiting lists or proof of demographic requirements that impede receiving the help they need in a timely fashion.” More information can be found at the link above.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
From their website: “Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul.” More information about their mission and how to find help in your local area can be found on their website, https://www.svdpusa.org/.
Jewish Family Services
An internet search of the term, “Jewish Family Services” lead to a multitude of local organizations that provide many services to families in need. The organization in my area can be found at https://www.jfcsatl.org/. Do as I did – search “Jewish Family Services” and type the name of your city-if an organization is available it will appear in the search.
No Shame in Asking for Help
I realize asking for help can be very difficult, but sometimes you have to put your pride aside and do what needs to be done. I also realize that it’s VERY easy for me to say this, having never walked in these difficult shoes, but the common sense side of me can’t help but think this needs to be said.
Pay it Forward
I have a friend who, many years ago, faced serious financial hardship after the breakup of her marriage. She had a child to feed so she swallowed her pride and filed for government assistance. Fast forward 25+ years-she has earned her PhD and is teaching the next generation of nurses at a university in Texas. She now has the means to pay it forward, and she does. If you find yourself in a crisis situation, try to realize that there is NO shame in asking for help. Once your crisis has passed, make a vow to yourself that you will pay it forward, and then do it. If you need help, let someone help you. You just might be allowing THEM to pay it forward after receiving help, themselves.
Friends, my list of suggested resources is VERY short. If you know of any resource not covered here that can help someone in a financial crisis, PLEASE share it in the comments. Thank you!
Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…
Note-Any and all items contained in the Older Wiser Money Miser Debt Free Challenge are intended as a resource for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional tax or investing advice.