“I’m still in shock”, said Sandy. “Things like this don’t happen to people like me. I have a college degree!” Sandy continues to explain, “I lost my job due to COVID -19. We definitely need my income to pay for our household expenses”.
When a crisis occurs it’s not just affecting the adults in the home. “We have three kids at home, and one is in full-time pre-school.” Sandy is not alone. COVID-19 forced hundreds of local families into an unexpected panic when they lost their jobs or were furloughed in 2020. “We moved to Boerne less than a year ago because the schools are so incredibly good. But it was an expensive decision. We really stretched our finances to give our kids the best quality of life. Without my income, I’m not sure we’re going to be able to financially survive for very long.”
Sandy and her family were experiencing a short term yet terrorizing crisis in 2020. Local nonprofit Hill Country Family Services (HCFS) was able to immediately intervene and provide the assistance needed to keep Sandy and her family stable until Sandy could find a new job.
HCFS provided emergency financial assistance to pay the next month’s mortgage, fresh and healthy self-selection groceries for three months and all toiletry and household cleaning items at no cost to the family. Even the family dog received dog food from the Daisy Cares program through a HCFS partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank.
What exactly is a crisis?
Everyone’s “crisis” is different. But 2020 was the great equalizer when everyone on Earth was affected by the crisis called COVID-19. HCFS has quietly been serving families in Boerne in crisis for 36 years. HCFS uses the industry standard definition of a crisis to determine if they can help local individuals and families:
(1) Crisis intervention can wait up to 72 hours,
(2) The crisis is a disruption to daily functioning for an individual or family
(3) Someone in crisis can recover quickly with assistance, intervention, and community support.
When a family is faced with a crisis, humility, and vulnerability and sometimes fear is extremely evident when they reach out for help. Staci Almager, CEO of HCFS, explains, “We believe that our purpose and our role in the community is to help an individual or family get back on their feet as quickly as possible. Bad things do happen to extremely good people. But a crisis doesn’t have to last forever. With our help, a family can and will recover from any crisis”.
Sandy’s family recovered from their short-term crisis. They continue to share their experiences and vulnerability on social media with others. They have chosen to be part of reducing the stigma of asking for help when experiencing a crisis.