All she needed was a hand up
Sara calls her story “a cautionary tale.” She says, “I was uppermiddle class. I had no problems. I went from that to nothing.” Her “tale” began when Sara’s husband took their money and left the country. She was penniless. “I was able, by the grace of God, to put a roof over my head,” she says. “But that was it.”
Disabled by progressive kidney disease, Sara had more than 60 surgeries. Her health challenges prevent her from working or even leaving the house. “I fell through the cracks in a really weird way,” Sara says. She lives on a monthly disability check.
“I juggle my bills each month. I can’t afford food anymore.”
When COVID-19 hit, that made her predicament even worse. “I knew that I had to quarantine, or it would kill me. I’ve been inside my house since March 4.” She couldn’t even go out to shop for groceries.
Then Sara heard about Metropolitan Ministries. “You were the first people I called,” she says. “I got some wonderful woman who immediately told me, since I’m homebound, you will get food to me each week and not to worry.”
Since then, Sara has received weekly deliveries, including fresh produce and vegetables. “It was spectacular,” says Sara. “It felt so nice to have fresh food in there — fresh zucchini, bell pepper, pastas — really nice, healthy food for me.”
When asked what it means to get help without having to risk her health, Sara told us: “It takes some of the fear out of the current crisis and the feeling of helplessness out of my daily existence. It was incredibly terrifying to think of going to the market. It took a tremendous weight off.”
Looking back at what her life used to be, and what it is now, Sara says, “I was upper-middle class. I had nothing to worry about. But I went from that to nothing. I used to work on Christmas and Thanksgiving, feeding the homeless. So for me to not be handing out food, but to be on the receiving end — that’s really a turnaround. But I’m so touched by the outpouring of Metropolitan Ministries. I’ve never been met with this kind of kindness.”
Knowing that, like her, many families in Tampa Bay won’t experience a traditional Thanksgiving season this year, Sara said she hopes to be able to start giving back again soon. “When COVID-19 is done, and I can give back,” she promises, “I will. You all are helping me in a time of need. So as soon as I can, I intend to.”
“It’s not just the food. It’s knowing someone cares.”
Continuing, “There’s so much suffering and the need is great. We see, hear, and feel it in so many ways. It’s organizations like Metropolitan Ministries that make the difference between life and death for a lot of people.
“You know I’m homebound, so you buy the food, box the food, and drive the food to me. It keeps me in the right mindset to continue to fight this pandemic. It’s not just the food, it’s knowing someone cares.”