Donna* is a single mother living in Caledon with two children. A few short years ago, they had a happy, stable life. She had a nice home, a car, and a steady job in Toronto. She had been with the same organization for 25 years, when suddenly, in April 2010, the company restructured and she lost her job. Everything changed.
Donna quickly ran through her savings, bills began to pile up, and hunting for a job was a discouraging, uphill battle. She was denied Unemployment Insurance twice and became frustrated with the technicalities in the system. “When I needed help the most, when things were the worst they could be, the system was not there,” she said.
Although she found sporadic, low paying, temporary employment, the economic climate meant her employment and income were short lived. She worried about how she was going to feed her young children.
But Donna’s struggle was not without a purpose. She decided to make her voice heard in her Caledon community. Once she shared her story with the local paper anonymously, she quickly discovered the power of community. She discovered she was not alone. United Way of Peel Region reached out immediately, and directed her to United Way-funded programs at Caledon Community Services that could help her get back on her feet.
“The support has been overwhelming,” says Donna. “You always read about it happening to others and never think it will happen to you but then it does.”
Donna’s story illustrates how quickly and easily a person can fall into poverty, but it also shows the importance and power of community support.
This video shows the story of Wendy, a client of Caledon Community Services. Wendy has gone from poverty to possibility through the help of United Way funded programs.