Single Maine Mom Living in Her Van is Hesitant To Ask For Help But Has No Choice
During Camp Out Hunger, I met a lot of folks and connected with many Mainers sharing tough stories, hugging and crying all the while.
One woman in particular, named Stephanie, is a single mother who is currently struggling. She has 4 children, ages 3 to 11 years old. She sadly lives in her van and works a full time job. Stephanie and her lovely daughter came to Camp Out Hunger to donate food and they came every day, donating each day.
The people that donated the most were the ones who currently know how it feels to deal with hunger insecurity and have before.
I've spoken a lot about the stigma of homelessness and hunger insecurity in Maine. Many assume that people who are facing struggles don't work. This isn't the case for Stephanie. She unfortunately was met with these struggles due to bad luck and the cost of living.
Her children are safe, living with family while she is hustling to make money to secure her family a home and because of that, she lives in her van.
She was hesitant to do this but knew that she had to, for herself and her family. She created a GoFundMe and the description is below,
Hi, my name is Stephanie I'm fundraising to help fix my vehicle. My van I am living in and I'm struggling to fix it as it needs a new transmission I have a full-time job and still have payments on this vehicle I can't just get rid of it so I have to fix it any help would be great but I understand where it's the holiday season. A little will go a long way thank you for any help that anybody gives me. My kids are in a safe place but I do need my van to get them to where they need to go.
There are times in life when you feel as though you have no other choice then to ask for help. That is okay. Shame should not be attributed to having the courage to ask for help.
I shared an extremely special moment with Stephanie's daughter, Kailyn who is 11. We spoke about her dreams and she said one thing to me that I will never forget.
I asked her what she wanted most in her life. She told me, at night before she goes to sleep, she prays for her very own bedroom. She can't wait to decorate it and lay in her very own bed. As an adult and especially a parent, that tears your heart open. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in and in order for some families to continue to fight for survival, they need to ask for help.
The next day they came back and I gave her my bracelet. I wanted her to know that I was always with her and the strength that she has affected me in such a deep way.
I wish I could do more for this wonderful family that has simply fallen on bad luck but I will do what I can. I only ask you to do the same if it is what you want.
I am proud of Stephanie as a woman and mother for stepping up to the plate and doing what needs to be done.
If you'd like to contribute to Stephanie's GoFundMe, click here.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with homelessness or hunger in Maine, please visit NAMI for help.