She came in during the evening for the food pantry. We'll call her Mary.
As part of the check-in process we looked up her record to see if she was receiving all the help possible. According to our system, Mary was 32 years old. She had recently separated from her husband and had custody of the three children. It wasn't clear if she was receiving food stamps (now called SNAP) so we asked Mary, and she said no she wasn't receiving the aid, but she could really use the extra help and could we look into making the connection for her.
When Mary lifted her head to say thank you, she had the look on her face that we've seen so many times before... this quiet fear, just below the surface. She knew that she was in a difficult situation. If she were to lose her job, have a major illness or even a significant car repair bill, life for her and her children could become almost unlivable.
With many of the good people that come to Manna for help, that surface tension is very real. At times it's difficult for us to discern; people are proud and don't want to be a burden to others. They want to be able to make it on their own. Sometimes, it's just hard...