Carol is a soft-spoken outgoing woman who lives in a one bedroom apartment she rents for $500 a month. She receives a monthly disability check of $720 and a SNAP food amount of less than $50 a month. After paying her rent and her cellphone bill, she lives on the rest plus a small amount she earns cleaning the house of a wheelchair bound man. Her only transportation is the bus which she takes every day to the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen for a hot lunch and the camaraderie of her friends.
She lives in survival mode every day and has for more than two decades after fleeing an abusive husband with her two small children. When her now grown children were just six and eight years old, she had decided enough was enough and left her abusive husband. She and her children spent a month living on the streets until she was able to find a place to stay and a job. She cleaned houses for a living but often availed herself of the generosity of the good citizen’s of San Angelo when times really got bad. She knows which churches in town give groceries, clothing, bus passes and how often she can visit them. She is a survivor. She said that she often rides the bus around town so that she can help people lift their bags onto the bus and secures bicycles onto the bus, helping the bus drivers keep their schedules.
On Thursday, she had nothing else planned for the day, so I recruited her as a volunteer to help sort and put out clothing and bags of personal hygiene products (Blessing Bags) which were donated by Somebody’s Rusty and CrossPointe Church’s Homeless Ministry. She was an amazing volunteer and much appreciated. Throughout the day we had a few chances to sit down and talk. The most amazing thing about Carol is her spirit. She loves people and would give the shirt off her back to someone in need. She has a network of friends who are extremely important to her. All of whom are in the same basic place in life – surviving one day at a time.