Every one of our neighbors has a story. Nilda and her family are strong, resilient, and hard-working. Unfortunately, they – like so many of our neighbors – have had an especially difficult year, as they suffered financial losses in the wake of COVID, and faced huge increases in the cost of gas, food, and housing. Despite their challenges, their love for each other keeps them smiling, and they are committed to a brighter future together.
Hi – I’m Nilda, and this is my story.
I’m a mom of three – I have a 10-year-old son, and daughters who are 7 and almost 4. I first found Norwescap 11 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first son. I was pretty young, and Dean and I didn’t have much money. We needed some help, and I found their Women, Infants and Children program. I had no idea this kind of help was even available until I found Norwescap.
It wasn’t easy to make that first call. I was nervous, and a little bit embarrassed. I didn’t want to be perceived as someone who was looking for a handout… as someone who wasn’t trying. But I’ve never felt any judgment at Norwescap. I’ve never felt belittled. It’s such a welcoming environment.
All three of my kids have gone through Norwescap’s Early Head Start and Head Start – it’s been amazing. All three have had the same teacher and we just love her. We’ve been able to use so many great resources over the years. Norwescap has played a huge role in my life. I have no idea where we would be without them.
It’s been so rough this year, though. Covid had a huge impact on our family. We were small business owners before Covid, and our business did not survive. We suffered huge financial losses. We lost our home that we had for 9 years – we were renting, but it was our home. My kids took their first steps in that house. It feels like we lost nearly everything.
And now, in our new house – our rent is double what it used to be, and with the hit we took to our income, it’s like we just can’t get ahead. It’s exhausting. We’re so tired, all the time. We both work incredibly hard, but with everything that’s happened, and astronomical costs, it’s just impossible for us to sustain without help.
I’ve had to take away things that I used to do with my children that we loved so much – like going to the aquarium or the zoo. My oldest has definitely noticed that we don’t do a lot of those things anymore. And I feel really bad about that. Just because we don’t have a lot of money and we need some help doesn’t mean that my children aren’t entitled to have fun. I really want to provide my kids these experiences, but at the same time, I have to keep a roof over their heads. I have to keep food on the table and the lights on.
We live paycheck to paycheck now… there are days when we just don’t have enough food, so we feed the kids first… and maybe Dean and I go to bed a little bit hungry.
Norwescap has continued to be there for us – we’ve been able to use so many wonderful resources. And we’ll get through the hardship together as a family. Even though we’re not where we want to be today, we’re strong. I wish more people understood that just because we suffer financially, we’re not sitting around just waiting to be bailed out. We’re constantly trying to climb out, to get better next month, one day at a time. But we just can’t do it without help right now.
My biggest goal for our family is that we get through this difficult time together. And that someday we’ll look back on this and say ‘Wow, that was tough. But we were tougher.’