When Erin moved to Cincinnati late 2019, she never anticipated what 2020 would bring. She enrolled her three sons in school and began working with a job coach to find employment in her new home. She described feeling overwhelmed as her situation changed, "As soon as I started to interview, I received a message from the boys' principal that school was going virtual due to COVID-19."
Knowing she could not leave her three children home alone to complete their academic work, she made the decision to put her job search on hold, and their family continued carefully living on one income.
Erin and her sons, who are 12, 9 and 3, all have pre-existing conditions that put them at high risk for the novel coronavirus. The boys have spent much of their childhood in and out of the hospital with respiratory conditions. As the pandemic worsened, Erin knew she could not send her children to school in the fall and made the difficult decision to choose virtual school from home. She shared, "The financial stress and pressure were unbelievable. We were trying our best to get by on one income, but it was impossible."
When Erin visited IPM for the first time for food, she said IPM staff made her feel at ease, "The pantry staff is amazing. They have a smile on their faces no matter how many cars are in the line or what the weather is like. They know my name and always ask about my kids."
Erin explained how hopeless she felt during this challenging time and expressed gratitude to IPM for being there for her family, "I really don't know what we would have done without you. You have been such a blessing. I can't tell you how much the food and diapers have helped our family. You are getting us through each day."
Because of the impact on Erin and her family, she and her sons delivered this handwritten card to IPM: