Your support shows we’re not alone

My life used to look very different. I was working as a beautician at a very well-respected day spa, while also studying to be a nurse and raising my five children. One day in 2014, I suffered a serious brain injury. From there, everything started slipping out of my control and my life spiralled. I was getting confused, even passing out, and having panic attacks. I couldn’t work like I used to. I was finding it impossible to keep on top of running our household, and I started losing track of bill payments. I kept studying while I tried to get us back on track, but as a sole parent with no one to turn to for help, we got more and more into debt. Our situation felt completely helpless.

Getting to the position where you need to ask for help is shattering when you’ve been successful in life. I went to several places, but I felt judged, or unsafe when I had my children in tow. One day, I saw a pamphlet about The Mission’s Social Supermarket. It talked about how you’re made to feel welcome, not embarrassed. I came in and met Toni, a Financial Mentor at The Mission. I was nervous, but she had a relaxed attitude and put me at ease quickly.

I did my first shop at the Social Supermarket that day. It was unlike anywhere I had been before.

From there, I started sewing my life back together. I agreed to have The Mission manage my budget through their Total Money Management service. I was scared about handing over control, but I was in such a bad position that I knew I had to. I trusted Toni too. She also had a lot of know-how and authority, so she was able to negotiate with my creditors in a way that I couldn’t and she made arrangements for me to pay back my debts. My new budget didn’t leave much spending money, but we slowly started making progress. It gave my mind a rest from all the overdue bills running around in my head, and I could sleep at night again.

Being able to regularly visit the Social Supermarket has really helped supplement our food bills too. We love it there. It’s a safe place where my kids are always welcome, and my youngest daughter loves getting to choose things from the shelves. As a mum, it’s so good to know that they are getting all the nutrients they need.

Without The Mission, I don’t know how we could have possibly survived these past couple of years, especially in winter when there’s so much extra strain trying to keep my kids healthy.

My girls have asthma which gets worse in the cold, and severe eczema that can easily become infected. In the Social Supermarket you can get speciality laundry powders, soaps and cleaning products that bring a lot of relief to them. We would never have been able to afford that stuff otherwise.

We still have some challenges ahead, but I’m ecstatic to have paid off $16,000 of debt, and in the next couple of weeks I’ll be completely debt-free. Toni has taught me so much about managing my own budget. I’ve picked up my studies again, and after such a positive experience with The Mission, my goal is to now become a social worker. My aspiration is to one day work with The Mission helping other people when they need it, like Toni did for me. It’s been a long road, but I finally feel like I’m going to get my life back to normal again. I think it’s all going to make me a better social worker!

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supports The Mission. It means so much to know that people out there do care about us, and that whatever happens, we’ve got The Mission’s support.

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