Good evening, ladies and gentleman. It is a privilege and an honor to be here with you tonight. My name is Jennifer Tate. For the last year I have been a client of The Caring Place. Tonight, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself, what brought me to The Caring Place, and how a relationship with The Caring Place has changed my life for the better.
About 2 years ago while living in California we were faced with the nearly impossible task of finding housing we could afford. Wanting to be closer to an ailing family member and wanting to start a new life where we had a chance to do more than just survive, we made the choice to move to Texas. We decided we would live in our camping trailer to save money while we looked for work, learned more about the area and got on our feet.
We thought we had a good plan. We had no idea how quickly that plan would unravel and how so much would go so wrong. We were quickly going through our savings while we handled a variety of issues from canceled RV park reservations to unplanned repairs, but we made the best of it and found ways of dealing with each new issue as we tried to start a life here. I started a new job as a preschool teacher and my now 7 year old son started school.
Then, Hurricane Harvey hit. When the clouds cleared, my husband and I separated. I was now facing challenges alone; like the RV Park telling me I had 2 weeks to move.
Over a thousand miles from anything familiar and feeling alone, I turned to my friend Daniel at Georgetown Boys and Girls Club where my son was attending after school. Daniel helped me in so many ways which included encouraging me to reach out to The Caring Place. His intervention and partnership with The Caring Place was truly instrumental in the things to come.
First, arrangements were made for us to stay in a campground until another RV park was found. The Caring Place set us up to receive groceries from the Food Pantry and clothing and shoes from the thrift stores. But, this wasn’t the end of the story.
In June, I became unemployed so that I could care for my son in the summer. I quickly found myself back at The Caring Place and this time received a Case Manager, Rebecca Orozco. She helped guide me and connect me with all kinds of services at The Caring Place and resources in the community.
I received a toaster oven when my oven stopped working, and a dining room table where we could eat our meals together. I also received a dresser, a fan, a box of linens, gas vouchers to get to appointments, and maintenance my vehicle needed.
The list of services and referrals that have impacted my life gets long from here. The Caring Place gave me referrals to so many amazing organizations. Organizations that helped me gain self-confidence and believe that I could do this. Organizations that helped me accomplish things and deal with issues that have been ongoing since I got to Texas.
While several items stand out as important, one of the pivotal items I addressed through my relationship with The Caring Place was obtaining my Texas driver’s license, getting car insurance and valid car registration. While this was accomplished through a partner agency I know it was The Caring Place that allowed the doors to be opened for me. When you are job hunting and raising a child with medical needs, reliable transportation is critical. So for this, I was so grateful.
Finally, this year I found a pamphlet at The Caring Place for a program called Project Hope- Strong Start Strong Families. Through this program I was nominated for Austin Statesman Season for Caring and we have been blessed to be chosen as a recipient through this coming year. This begins a whole year of wonderful things to come for us. None of it would have been possible if it weren’t for The Caring Place and all of the amazing staff who help me and people in our community just like me everyday. I know without a shadow of a doubt we would have ended up homeless and who knows what would have happened to us if it hadn’t been for The Caring Place.
In closing I’d like to say thank you to everyone at The Caring Place for all that you do. And, thank you to all of you here tonight for your contributions which make it possible for The Caring Place to do the work they do. Thank you and Good night.