Kesha and her husband have two children in elementary school. They both work—Kesha works full time as a client manager at an accounting management company, and her husband works in the grocery industry. His hours vary and are unpredictable, but he typically works 20 to 30 hours per week.
Despite working hard, these Western Connecticut residents often depend on food pantries to feed their children. Kesha said she has learned to make paying rent the number one priority in her budget, sometimes leaving her a little short on money for food. This was especially true when her husband was laid off of work for a period of time.
“I filled penny rolls and pawned jewelry to come up with the rent,” she says.
Last year, her husband had to make a visit to the hospital emergency room, and they are still paying off the bill.
When COVID-19 closed her children’s school and her offices, Kesha found herself trying to juggle the demands of her job—conference calls, deadlines, communicating with clients—while also helping her children with their daily coursework, and assisting her kids when they had a meltdown or conflicts with each other.
“It was so stressful,” she said. “I often broke down and cried. I felt like a failure to my kids and my job. I explained to the teachers and my boss that we had to take two days off for our mental health.”
Kesha is one of a number of parents she knows who make too much to qualify for government assistance, but not enough to thrive or even save a little for a house or their children’s education.
She uses United Way of Western Connecticut’s Healthy Savings program to receive discounts on groceries, giving her up to $10 in free produce for every $20 she purchases, in addition to discounts on other healthy foods. She also uses United Way’s ALICE Enrichment Fund to pay for out-of-school activities for her children.
Kesha and her family count on United Way of Western Connecticut’s programs to make their lives a little easier during a very stressful time. Please join us in helping hard-working ALICE families like theirs.