From someone we helped...
Lost Jobs and New Babies
Just over four years ago Derek and I were parents to a brand new set of twins, had no car, no jobs and were living off the generosity of friends and family. I want to explain how two hard working people could have possibly found themselves in that position. I had gotten separated several years earlier and lost everything in my effort to say goodbye to the relationship as soon as possible. The only thing I had to show for was my daughters, who were 5 and 3 at the time.
Derek and I had spent the two years of our relationship primarily long distance. He had a great job north of Seattle but gave it up to move to Michigan to be with me and our twins when I was 7 months pregnant. I tried for months to find a job but because it was obvious I was pregnant, even early on in the pregnancy, no one would hire me despite my stellar work history. Derek struggled to find employment because all of his references didn't seem to mean much 2400 miles away and Northern Michigan was experiencing a terrible economy so businesses were reluctant to hire anyway.
It was during this time that a friend of ours suggested we look for help from area organizations. When the twins were just three weeks old we walked in the door to the Manna Food Project for the first time. Not only were the volunteers very friendly but they offered to snuggle our babies while we did our shopping.
The food we got from Manna is all we survived on for months until I was cleared to go back to work. One of the volunteers even shared information about a diaper pantry and W.I.C. program which we used to supplement.
Derek and I found jobs a few months later and have come a long, long way. We bought a modular home in March 2012 that we completely own, no mortgage. We own our vehicle, no loan. We have no credit cards, no debt and this year we started both a savings account and 401k. Having been at the bottom we are doing everything we can to make sure we set ourselves up for the future and we KNOW our future is as bright as it is because the people from Manna cared enough to help.
Derek is now the Kitchen Manager for Pig's Eatin' Ribs and I am a Venue Coordinator at Castle Farms, both in Charlevoix. I am now focused on repaying the favor that can never be repaid by hosting monthly workshops at Castle Farms benefitting Manna. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the Manna Food Project, their staff and their supporters for realizing anyone can experience hardships and supporting families the way you do.
Larissa & Derek Arianna, Kaelynn, Kole & Ava