June 17, 2020
La Tanya Johnson Case Manager with Family Support Services (Path 2 in Contra Costa County)
"HOPE IS THE ONLY THING STRONGER THAN FEAR"
What do you say to a mother with HIV and children with autism and other special needs? She can’t drive, work, or help herself in ways we take for granted. My job is to help her build a different path through the problems she faces daily. Being overwhelmed is typical, but with the additional pressure of the pandemic, getting supplies like pullups for bigger children is a test of anyone’s resources.
Why would schools collect laptops for the summer, when it is the only connection some of my families have to information, education, or entertainment? I cannot imagine. I wish I could give each one of them their very own computer and internet.
Working with 13 families, all needing different resources from unemployment to housing to food, I’ve helped people apply for unemployment correctly (without internet access), using a phone and an App that is not mobile friendly. I’ve provided resources when food prices are high and items are limited because others have hoarded. Thanks to donors of the COVID-19 FUND and the HOPE Campaign, we have been given more latitude than we have had before…AND we definitely need it!
My clients’ new normal has magnified the lack of information out there, increasing FEAR of the unknown. I remind them that none of us knows how long the pandemic will last, if the kids will go back to school, and when or if certain businesses will reopen. The best part of it is the way I have seen our community coming together. The little kindnesses may even save a life as it lifts the FEAR of the unforeseen for a little while.
I am grateful that the families who make up my case load allow me into their lives to share their barriers. I am also grateful for the donors who give Catholic Charities East Bay critical resources to provide HOPE in these desperate times.
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