BATTLING HUNGER: ONE RESIDENT'S STORY
Donna’s story is an unfortunate example of the hurdles many individuals in our society face when attempting to secure food--a basic and fundamental right. Like many other of our residents, Donna suffers from mental illness and an addiction, which unfortunately led to an arrest and felony conviction. Before her conviction, Donna had been receiving food stamps for her and her son. Afterwards, however, Donna could no longer receive any type of public assistance for food or housing due to a law that ex-offenders with a felony record can never receive food stamps. To make matters even more difficult, most places of employment refuse to hire individuals with a felony record; nor are these individuals allowed to enter public housing. Food pantries, which seem a fruitful resource, can be difficult to utilize if you do not have an address, do not live in the county of the food pantry, or do not attend that particular church.
Donna is not the only resident in Shalom House that is an ex-offender with a felony record. Despite paying her debt to society, Donna is still being punished by being denied access to the basic fundamental human rights of food, shelter, and meaningful employment. Even before her arrest, Donna had a difficult time on food stamps as any raise in income can drastically reduce the amount of food stamps one receives—even if your income is still not enough to cover both food and shelter. When she combined the income of herself and her son as they were sharing a household, the amount of food stamps she received decreased to a mere $15 dollars a month!
Shalom House has now become Donna’s only recourse. Until she was finally able to obtain employment with the help of Shalom House, her only source of sustenance was the food provided by Shalom House. But without the support of donors and volunteers that help provide the food, Shalom house would be unable to obtain enough food to feed all of our residents. And without Shalom House, residents such as Donna would continue to be unable to obtain food—a right many of us take for granted.
Meet Shalom House's Newest Staff Members
Shalom House is thrilled to announce the arrival of our newest team members. Michelle Brooks, LCSW, Emergency Shelter Coordinator, and Brittney Tubbs, Emergency Shelter Case Manager, joined us in November and are already hard at work making a difference!
Michelle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has a background in child welfare and mental health. Michelle notes that meeting different women from all different walks of life has been a wonderful part of her job at Shalom House. She does her very best to ensure that every woman's life is touched by her work and appreciates the inspiration she receives from the clients. In her free time, Michelle is active at her church with Sunday School Bible Study and the Choir. She also enjoys doing projects at home, finding fun free activities in the community and being a "kid!"
Brittney has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from The Ohio State University and a Master's Degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. She has a medical social work background from her employment at Barnes-Jewish Hospital as a PRN Social Worker. Brittney enjoys being able to assist clients in meeting their goals in terms of physical health, mental health, housing concerns and family reunification. She also enjoys building rapport with clients and understanding their prior struggles in their lives in order to help them move forward. Brittney enjoys watching football in her free time.
Please join us in welcoming Michelle and Brittney to Shalom House!
A Place to Find Hope
At the 2013 Signature Event, we were happy to introduce a new Shalom House video, "A Place to Find Hope."
Special Thanks to the Building Owners and Managers Association for Making Shalom House Look Beautiful!
On Friday, October 18, the Building Owners and Managers Association's (BOMA) Outreach Committee spent the day volunteering at Shalom House. The committee painted exterior parts of our building and neighboring park, landscaped the front with new mulch and plants, organized our food pantry and much more. They even made time to BBQ and eat lunch with our residents! It was an amazing day of service. Thank you for all of your hard work in making our building a wonderful place to call home! Residents said the work BOMA did throughout the building made them feel better about where they live and "coming home."