This is the second installment in a series spotlighting the work the CPS Children and Family Benefits Unit (CFBU) does in helping students and their families gain access to the assistance available to them. Following is a story of a real-life person that CFBU was able to help. For more information about the CFBU click here or call 3-KIDS (773-553-5437).Watch for additional stories like this one in the coming days and read the first in this series here.
This story was submitted by Angelica Serna, a Children and Family Benefits Liaison, who is pictured above.
Marcia is a beaming grandmother who lives with her young grandson. Several months ago, her daughter lost her job and moved out of state to try to find work. In the process of moving, Marcia's daughter decided to leave her son with Marcia until she found stable employment in her new state of residence.
Marcia gladly accepted her grandson into her home and figured that she would find a way for the two of them to survive. Unfortunately, as a retired senior with a disability, she lives on a very small retirement check and has no other source of income. She and her grandson often found themselves with no food in the cupboard, which led her to confess that, "A small piece of my heart was ripped away every time my grandbaby stared at me with those hungry eyes."
At her grandson's last Report Card Pick-up at Gale Math and Science Academy, Marcia met me and told me her story. I assured Marcia that I could assist her with filling out applications both for SNAP Food Stamps and free or low cost medical insurance, All Kids, to help alleviate some of the tension she felt on a daily basis. We completed the applications, submitted the necessary documentation, and waited for a response from the Illinois Department of Human Services.
A little over a month after submitting her applications, I received a call from Marcia who was crying so hard that I could barely understand her. When I asked her what was wrong, she tearfully informed me that she had been approved and would finally be able to provide her grandson with the nourishment and medical care he needs to succeed in school.
She thanked me and confided that she did not know what would have happened to her grandson and herself if she had not received this assistance. She told me that there were many nights when she went to bed hungry because she had shared her small meal with her grandson so that he could do well at school the next day.
Thanks to the help she is receiving from these programs, Marcia is now able to breathe a sigh of relief and feel a sense of comfort knowing that she and her grandson are going to be okay.
Story submitted by Angelica Serna (pictured)
Children and Family Benefits Liaison
Stephen F. Gale Elementary Community Academy
With CFBU since June 2011
For a full list of CFBU Liaisons, please click here.