When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, any little thing can throw your budget out of whack. That’s what happened to single mother, Ashlen Hicks.
“I had to stay home for a week without pay,” she says. "It was a lot of stress because I'm like 'how am I going to pay my bills?'"
Her youngest child, 2-year-old Aubrey, got sick between late March and early April. Of course, the mother of four was worried because of the threat of COVID-19.
The toddler ended up recovering fairly quickly from what turned out to be the flu. Hicks says her budget was affected much worse.
"It’s very stressful,” she says. "I smile, I walk around but I don't show my emotions."
She turned to Jack and Jill Children’s Center for help. The organization has been operating in Broward County for more than 70 years. It has a long history of helping low-income families with resources and education.
During this pandemic, the organization’s CEO is seeing a lot of families affected financially.
“Our families that we serve are very resilient. We are proud of what they do to make ends meat, and they are living pay check to pay check. Then you throw in COVID, many lost their jobs, temporarily lost their jobs or hours were cut back. They were at our door saying 'can you help me in some way?' And of course, we can, ” says CEO Heather Siskind.
The center has a food pantry where families can go. That pantry is helping Hicks keep food on the table. But, there are so many families in need that the shelves are constantly scarce.
"We have about 200 families that we are serving currently, so they all have access to this," Siskind says. "Our families that we serve are very resilient. They can get through anything."
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