JFS Perspectives

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Geraldine Hardy: Helping a Neighbor in Need

Geraldine Hardy: Helping a Neighbor in Need

Geraldine Hardy, 67, has been through some tough times. Thirteen years ago, she was physically abused in her home and finally left—with nothing but her car. With nowhere to go and no money, she was soon living on the street. For seven years, Geraldine lived in cheap motels and in her car. “It was a rough time,” she laments. “It’s scary when someone knocks on your car window and you don’t know who they are.”

Geraldine was living on the edge until three years ago, when she rented an apartment across the street from Jewish Family Service. It didn’t take long for her to discover the many services available. Her sole source of income is her monthly social security check of $832. With her rent at $700, she’s left with very little to live on. Her monthly visits to the Weinberg Food Pantry are supplementing her limited food budget. “Without Jewish Family Service, I couldn’t possibly make ends meet,” she confides. “JFS has literally saved my life.”

A couple of years ago, Geraldine was facing homelessness. She couldn’t make rent for a second month and was about to be evicted. “With medical bills and living expenses, sometimes it gets overwhelming,” she says. Desperate, Geraldine came to JFS for help. That’s when she met Myrna Maldonado, Family Safety Net program coordinator and Kathy Messer, case manager. They immediately went to work finding resources for Geraldine. The agency provided a month and a half in rent, which kept her in her apartment.

“When I learned that JFS was going to cover my back rent, I was in tears,” she says. “I was shocked that JFS would help me that much. I was able to go to the store for the first time in weeks.”

Geraldine gets more than food and financial aid from JFS. She has a support system. She often visits with the staff, who listen to her day-to-day struggles and help by referring her to additional resources. “It makes me comfortable to know that JFS is right across the street. I feel safer.”

Geraldine is also getting help with her job search. She is working with Heather Seiden, employment case manager, to spruce up her résumé and identify jobs that would fit her interests and skillset. She participated in the Dress for Success class to help her fine-tune her professional look. “A little extra income would make life a lot more livable,” she says. “I’m hopeful.”

“Myrna, Kathy, and Heather are my buds,” says Geraldine. “Sometimes I feel a little lonely and I’ll come over and just talk to them. They always come up with good advice or a resource to help me out. They always make me laugh and even give me chocolate! They let me know that everything will be okay.”

Geraldine couldn’t be more grateful for the services she has received from JFS. “To me, the JFS staff members are truly angels! The people who support JFS may not realize it, but their donations take a lot of stress off people like me who just need a little help. I really don’t know what I would do without JFS. Thank you.”



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