When the Cupboards are Bare

by SalvationArmy.ca
Categories: Feature

This can’t be happening to me, thought Patricia. With her sudden loss of employment, the Davis household income took a drastic hit. They were in a crippling situation.

Imagine a family of four living on $5 a month after paying rent and basic bills? This is where Patricia Davis and her loved ones found themselves after Windsor’s economy took a turn for the worst, and the fast-food business Patricia was managing abruptly closed.

“I was devastated,” says Patricia. “Beyond the loss of substantial income, losing a job also comes with other losses—loss of professional identity, sense of security and self-esteem.”

Patricia’s husband earned minimal income from seasonal work, but that was barely enough to pay rent and the phone bill. Patricia tearfully recalls gathering pocket change to buy milk and telling her children she couldn’t give them a toonie for pizza day at school.

Although Patricia knew her job loss had nothing to do with anything she did, she felt guilty for letting her family down. While her natural reaction to seeking help was to withdraw, out of embarrassment and pride, she recalled that in years past it was The Salvation Army who restored her hope and joy.

At age 12 Patricia and her younger sister were plucked from their classes at school because of a fire at home. They arrived to find their ranch house up in flames. As the sisters clutched each other a lady in Salvation Army uniform appeared and consoled them until their parents arrived. The house burned to the ground. While next steps were being planned, Patricia and her family were invited to stay at the Army’s summer camp, and remained there for a month. “They treated us like family,” says Patricia. “With their support we learned to giggle again.”

In 2011, Patricia needed the Army’s help more than ever. The cupboards were near bare and she could no longer pull together a complete meal. “It takes a lot of courage to tell someone you are in need,” says Patricia. “It’s humiliating.” Yet the 41-year-old refused to accept defeat and contacted her local Salvation Army.

“The Army restored my inner strength,” says Patricia. “They assured me there was nothing to be ashamed of. I wasn’t judged but was welcomed and helped. That’s what I needed.”

With the help of The Salvation Army, and while Patricia continues to seek employment, she is able to provide balanced, nutritious meals to her family—something that at one point seemed impossible.

“Everyday choices are still challenging,” says Patricia. “And it’s hard sometimes to see or feel dignity when your source of income is removed. But when I walk through the doors of The Salvation Army my heart is full and I feel I am worth more than just a job.”