Teresa reached out to Atheists Giving Aid when she was in need of receiving $500 in aid in order to survive until her disability went through. She lost her job and her husband makes too much money for them to qualify for food stamps, WIC, and other government organizations. Teresa was on unemployment until the government decided that even though she still wasn’t able to find a job, she no longer needed the money they sent her each month. Teresa had done everything right and reached out to numerous churches, NGOs, and food pantries. The churches only gave her a small amount of food – no financial assistance. The NGOs said they made too much money to qualify for help. The food pantries only allowed each person to take so much food with them and for her family it was never enough.
After discussing her situation over the phone and through email messages we determined that she was in need and the board voted to send her $500 in aid. Here is what Teresa said after receiving the money:
“Thank you. This means so much to us. You’ve saved us!”
Her original plea:
“I lost my job through no fault of my own this past April. I have been diligently looking for work since. I have almost completed 2 years of college and have been employed steadily since I was 17 years old. I only lack 2 classes to earn my A.A. degree, but I can’t scrape up the 600 for tuition, let alone books! I’m 45 now. I have a used car, a mortgage, and one grown daughter. I have been unable to find ANY work in my small town. I have put in literally two hundred applications and resumes with only two calls for interviews, neither of which I was offered. I can’t even get on at McDonald’s or Wendy’s. I’m “overqualified” apparently. Unemployment compensation was keeping out heads above water while I look for work, but that has ended now and I am in deep trouble. I’ve been having weekly yard sales and I have pawned all my jewelry and collectibles to keep afloat. I have nothing left, and little hope of finding a job. Local churches in my area give out boxes of food, and some
toiletries, but I need cash. I need help paying my utilities (too many people here are in my same boat, so utility assistance is scarce and very hard to get), car insurance, gas for my car, ect… I am not asking for a hand out. I need a hand up. I also have some physical challenges to deal with. I have severe Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis, Fibromyalgia, and Osteoarthritis. The spinal surgeries to correct my spinal deformity has left me with a large fusion mass (T6 to L4) causing Adjacent Segment Degeneration, arthritis of the spine, and bulging discs. I live in a great amount of pain and I am limited in the physicality of the work I can do. I have tried starting a couple of small businesses, but I lack information and start up money. I have filed a disability claim, and was denied. I have filed an appeal, but it could take months. My Christian relatives, who all have money, refuse to help me because I am an Atheist. They tell me God would pay my bills if I only believed. Th ey tell me that I just haven’t tried hard enough to accept God, and that if I had a church family, I wouldn’t be in this need. I have appealed for help on Craigslist, but as I live in a small, deep South, republican Christian conservative stronghold, I have had no offers of work or help of any kind. Can someone please help me? This steep slide into poverty is more than I can bear.”
Update: Teresa found herself in a pickle yet again. After receiving the money she needed to get through the month ($500) they were unable to meet their financial obligations again and had no extensions left. Utilities were about to be cut off so Teresa reached out to Atheists Giving Aid again to see if we could help a second time. We didn’t know what to do. We knew that financial assistance occurs with utility companies so we called on her behalf to see if we could do anything with her electricity, water, and gas. They had no extensions left and didn’t qualify for assistance. So we paid her bills for her amounting to $800. Altogether Teresa received $1300 from Atheists Giving Aid. She is still struggling to make ends meet but with our financial guidance and education she has been able to live completely independently, except for food pantries, since her she last accepted the $800 to pay off her utility bills.
Her final response: “Thank you so much! You saved our lives! Really, I was contemplating suicide thinking that death would be a better choice for my family than trying to live through this another day. Thank you for being the change we needed.” -Terri Mitchell