Jobless & Hopeless, New Mom Anna Maria Asked SVdP For Help
Anna Maria wasn’t sure about asking for help. A single mom, Anna Maria has worked hard to care for her family, including 7-year-old, Maribel, and her newborn son, Steven.
Anna Maria had never been to a food pantry before, but the increasing costs of groceries and other household items led her to recently seek assistance at the St. Vincent de Paul Pantry. “It’s been so hard for me to make ends meet”, shared Anna Maria. “These last few months, I haven’t had enough money to buy food for my family, pay for my car, housing…everything. I knew I needed help.”
When SVdP Pantry Volunteer, LouAnn Norton, showed up for her shift a couple of weeks ago, she immediately spied Anna Maria and Steven. Now retired, LouAnn lives in Omaha with her husband, Rich – and both of them are “all in” on SVdP’s call to personal spiritual growth, in their volunteer service to the poor. LouAnn definitely loves her position as a volunteer pantry “Companion”, which consists of helping individuals and families who seek assistance navigate the pantry space, ensuring they’re able to find the food and other items they need.
“I also love babies”, stated LouAnn, “and I wanted to be first in line to be Anna Maria’s Companion. I was excited to help. Anna Maria was so pleasant and that newborn Steven is adorable. I’m a people person, so I love meeting folks visiting the pantry and appreciate hearing their stories. I truly empathize with the people whom I’m fortunate to serve, and to make a real personal connection.”
Anna Maria shared more of her story. Prior to Steven being born, Anna Maria worked as a server for a local family-owned restaurant. During her third trimester of pregnancy, though, the restaurant’s owner closed its doors – a victim of the continuing effects of the pandemic and a poor economy. Anna Maria found herself without a job.
While she’s currently “a full time, stay-at-home mom” – taking care of Steven and Maribel – Anna Maria has also been looking for a new job, one which could pay enough for Steven’s daycare. “It seems like everything I’ve been applying for, they say that I don’t have enough experience…or that they’re just `going in a different direction’, and they end up hiring someone else. And, I desperately want to find a good daycare for Steven, although they are so expensive. I’ve really hit a dead end on that, as well.”
Together, LouAnn and Anna Maria (and Steven!) went through SVdP’s pantry, with Anna Maria chatting about her life, while LouAnn guided her through the aisles. Ultimately, Anna Maria received the following items – free of charge – from the St. Vincent de Paul Pantry: spaghetti noodles & sauce, ground beef, oil, sugar, kool aid, snacks for her daughter, cereal and a large box of fresh and canned fruits and vegetables. LouAnn also made sure Anna Maria received plenty of diapers!
Reflecting on her visit, Anna Maria shared: “Honestly, this food is unbelievably helpful to me and my kids. I’m so grateful to St. Vincent de Paul – and to LouAnn! She was great. She explained everything very well, guiding me through the pantry, answering my questions about where various items were located. Those kinds of things. I also appreciated that LouAnn took a sincere interest in getting to know me as a person and to listen to what’s going on in my life.”
Asked about her decades-long volunteer affiliation with SVdP, LouAnn reflected: “I have been really fortunate in my life. As a Christian and Catholic, I’m reminded that Jesus said we should `love one another as I have loved you.’ I do feel that we are all called upon to help those who are not as fortunate as I am – and as others are. Frankly, it’s our responsibility to do so. I really don’t feel like I have a choice in this. Of course, I’m going to help! St. Vincent de Paul offers me the opportunity to serve wonderful people like Anna Maria, and those interactions truly help deepen my own personal relationship with God.
As she contemplates her future, Anna Maria is looking into taking classes to become a phlebotomist. “I was looking around and that seemed to be a good career move, with better opportunities. I’ve always wanted to help people, and I think this kind of position could be a way of doing that, as well as help me better care for my family”, shared Anna Maria.
Will you please consider making a gift to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha right now to help us care for families like Anna Maria’s? Summer is the slowest time for donations, while our work of serving the poorest of our community is needed now more than ever. We are very grateful to be able to provide our basic, life-sustaining services to those most in need from our community when they have nowhere else to turn.
You can make your gift using our secure donation page, found HERE. Or, you can send a check to SVdP at 1715 Izard Street, Omaha, NE – 68102.
On behalf of Anna Maria, Steven & Maribel, thank you for your consideration of supporting our mission. Our services are only possible because of your generous financial support. Nearly all of the contributions to our organization come from compassionate members of our community, like you.
God bless you for your support of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha!
Gifts to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha are used to care for the people who turn to us during their hour of need and are greatly appreciated. All of our services are provided at no cost. All gifts made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Our donor information is kept in strict confidence. Our donor lists are never rented, shared or exchanged with other organizations. The stories in our letters are real. Identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy and therapeutic interests of those we serve. For more information about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha, or to include us in your estate planning, please contact Executive Director, Marty Smith, at (402) 779-8499.