It’s been a rough few years for a lot of families in the United States. Thanks to a rocky economy, many families have been living paycheck to paycheck, and plenty have needed government assistance to stay alive. According to Bread.org, more than 50% of Americans will live in poverty at some point in their lives, and 16.7 million children don’t know if there will be dinner on the table (it’s so common, in fact, that Sesame Street has created a new character modeled after these children that are “food insecure”). Not only that, but 41% of those that are homeless are families. It’s not surprising, of course, that these issues would cross over into the world of mom bloggers.
Dresden Shumaker of Creating Motherhood was one of those families. After quitting her job to take care of her grandmother with Alzheimer’s, her mother (with whom she lived) lost her job. Soon, they lost their home as well. But thanks to a blog reader, Dresden and her family were offered a place to live. “We were homeless with a place to stay, not in a shelter or on the streets,” she says. Eventually Dresden’s family (consisting of her mother and her two-year-old son) moved to the Philadelphia area for work, and they fought their way back to being self-sufficient after using government assistance in the form of food stamps. In an incredibly moving post, Dresden said:
The moment that I realized that I no longer qualified for these benefits was incredibly triumphant for me. Within the same moment of celebrating I also felt so incredibly thankful. I have no idea how my family would have existed without this kind of supplemental assistance to purchase food. Currently over 45 million families use food stamps – that is roughly 15% of the population of the United States.
Dresden’s decision to go public with her story has inspired others to share their stories with her. She’s launched a new series on her blog called In These Times where each week another person that has lived close to the bone shares their story. Some bloggers, such as Liz of Six Year Itch, share their stories openly, but she will also be featuring many anonymous stories – some written by bloggers you may know.
The stories (including Dresden’s) are uplifting, inspiring, and heart breaking. Dresden’s original post actually attracted the attention of Feeding America, and she’s been asked to present at the National Anti-Hunger Public Policy Conference in February from the “client perspective.”
I highly recommend you subscribe to the series, if only to remind you of all you have to be grateful for. I wish those families the best. If you are interested in submitting your story, you can do so here.
Disclosure: Dresden and I are close friends, and work together as well. Just so you know. I’m clearly very proud of her.