On December 15th 2016 I was so excited to move into my new apartment just in time for Christmas. Then on December 23rd my husband passed away due to complications from kidney cancer. So not only did Christmas go away, so did my love of 19 years and his disability check. I couldn’t get paid for the days I missed work because the death certificate was mailed to our old address, my mother in law’s house. She is deep in the throws of dementia and could not recall ever receiving it. Then on January 10th 2017 I was taken by ambulance to the hospital for severe stomach pain which turned out to be an almost fatal condition brought on by stress and heredity. I was in the hospital 6 days and 5 nights mostly in ICU. Then came 6 weeks of recovery. I have no disability insurance and barely qualified for health insurance. I had absolutely no income at all. Once I was finally able to function on all the medications I was on I started calling churches, family assistance programs, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and every referral given to me. I made more than 53 phone calls and sent out more than 20 emails asking for help paying rent, buying food and keeping the electricity on. All but one said they had no money available or they didn’t offer rent assistance. The one church sent a check for $250 to cover a very small portion of rent, mostly late fees. I have just one daughter who is in a drug rehab and that’s it for family here. Fortunately January rent was discounted as part of my move in special and I was barely able to cover it with my last paycheck from work before I was hospitalized. My income tax return and the check from the church covered my February rent with not a penny to spare. I was walking to food banks with a little cart I had on wheels as I was trying to recover from my illness and the loss of my husband. Every day a constant struggle just to get enough food to eat. The day I returned to work my mother, who lives out of state had a brain aneurysm and is still hospitalized today. Couldn’t ask her for help. I had no money for bus passes to get to work and nobody to ask for help. That’s when I turned to MLBA. I actually had tried to get help back in January but never got a response. I figured I just wasn’t needy enough. This time I applied before my rent was due knowing there was no way I was going to gather it together by myself and I had exhausted every option. I sent every doctor bill, hospital bill, doctor’s note, lease agreement, utility bill and everything I had to all the board members praying I wouldn’t end up homeless. A few days after I returned to work I needed some information from HR and while I was speaking with our HR Manager, Penny she mentioned my application for assistance and told me to come back the following Monday and she would let me know (MLBA’s) decision. I was almost physically sick with worry. Then the day came and a manager came to my desk and told me that I was wanted in HR. Penny gave me the news. They agreed to cover my rent for March! I broke down. After months of struggling, stress and again the loss of my husband it all came down to that moment. Penny explained that it would take a few days to work out the details since the company I work for was very recently acquired by Alorica nothing like this had ever been done. It was a Friday and I had gotten all the way home on 2 buses after work when I got Penny’s voicemail. She said the check was ready and she waited at work almost an hour late for me to come back to pick it up delaying the start of her weekend just so I could get it turned in to my landlord before the close of business. Truly awesome of her! I still get chills thinking about it and how supportive my fellow co-workers have been since my return. I am almost 53 years old and I feel that I have finally found a place of employment I can call home. Today I have a pocket full of pennies, but my rent is paid, my utilities are paid, I have bus passes and a kitchen full of groceries. I am in a position to start budgeting and hope that by May I can begin to pay it forward and donate back to the program that saved my life.