“Every good act is charity. A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows.” - Molier
Today’s guest post is from one of HAMO’s own contributors, Ms. Del. I first met Del during the dot-bomb days (complete with beer bashes, Foosball and late night take out from The Slanted Door). We were working for one of the original web development firms in San Francisco’s SOMA district. The short story is we were both laid off, but remained close friends. She is one friend we tapped when we were “calling in favors,” for this campaign. Thank you Del, for being bold enough to share your story and for showing us the true meaning of charity.
I have always prided myself of living within my means, saving and being prudent with my money. I have never had credit card debt, “splurged” on unnecessary items, or tried to be more fabulous than possible. I kept my needs and wants within the possible. I have worked steadily for the last ten years as a consultant. I have sometimes had some space between gigs but nothing significant or particularly painful. I love to work and prided myself on it. Something’s you cannot plan for and having a baby in the worst economic downturn is one of them.
My baby is my pride and joy. She is my beautiful baby. She is smarter, quicker and stronger than any other. I have a mother’s pride now etched in me. Tattooed on my soul are my child’s heart, dreams and ambitions. Within every cliché about motherhood I now find some truth. So it should be no surprise that I want the best for her. In this economy, it has meant that I have had to apply for WIC. I did not want to do it. My partner and I argued about it for days debating the pros and cons. Both of us were hoping that I would be able to land a job, a contract, something that would enable us to continue to live our simple lifestyle. With my savings tapped out my current unemployment check is just not enough.
WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children. Per their website the program is:
WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
I.e. they help me save about $200 a month on food. Thanks to them I now have milk, cheese, tuna, beans, and baby cereal in my pantry. It is not a lot, but it all is useful. It will meet some of our needs it provides just enough to keep us going. For that I am lucky.
I have a roof over my head, a partner who loves me, my beautiful baby, a college education, connections and experience. All things I can rely upon to be there tomorrow, and the day after that, and for the next year. I can see that far in advance and say I will be ok. The baby will be ok. She will grow and flourish. She will be safe and she will be healthy.
I take comfort in all of that, knowing that so many don’t and can’t. As a result I have been volunteering with Help A Mother Out. Lending a hand to those in a worse situation by getting the word out. I have donated diapers, wipes and pads that I have and can’t use. Sent out emails to friends and family who can also donate. Tried to drum up some media attention. Letting people know that they too can make a difference in someone’s life. A disposable diaper is disposable, but a baby’s health and a mother’s worry are not.