I am Angela. I grew up in a poor family. My parents divorced when I was very young and I was raised by my father. When my father remarried, my step-mother did not like having me and my siblings. We spent most of our childhood ignored and raising ourselves.

As an adult, I started a family. I have 3 amazing children from 2 different dads, who are both in prison. We no longer have contact with either of them and receive no support. Now estranged from my parents and my kid’s dads, I am truly alone raising my babies.

Last year, I found myself in a place I had never been before. My neighbor, at my apartment complex, got a bad case of bed bugs. Those bed bugs spread to my apartment. Although my apartment is very clean I couldn’t get rid of them. I turned to Crosslines during Share Your Christmas that year and was blessed with replacement furniture. It was such a relief. Since then, I have continued to come to Crosslines. At Crosslines, not only do I receive food and diapers, but I have learned so much through their Case Manager, Rachel, who mentors me and guides me through my struggles.

My goal is to be a mother that does not need assistance from Crosslines …. or anyone. I want to be able to take care of myself and my kids on my own. Before discovering Crosslines, I tried my best to figure out how to make that happen but never seemed to get ahead. I have been working with Rachel for almost a year and I have learned so much. Looking back I didn’t realize how many things I didn’t know how to do. Do you know how to cut up a watermelon? I know that sounds like an odd question, but I didn’t know how until Rachel showed me. It may seem small to you, but it was huge to me. I receive about $600 a month in food assistance. I would go to the store and buy what I felt was healthy food for my kids. They love fruit and I would buy the fruit and veggies that was already cut up in the produce section of the store.  I would count every penny, but would still run out of grocery money before the end of the month.

One day Rachel went grocery shopping with me. When we finished she asked me, “Why do you buy fruit and veggies that are already cut up? It costs so much more to buy it that way.” I told her that the only time I tried to cut it up myself I almost cut off a finger. I don’t know how to cut up a watermelon. The next time I went grocery shopping Rachel went with me again. This time I bought fresh, whole fruit from the produce section. When we got back to my apartment Rachel showed me how to cut up the fruit and veggies. Wow! What a difference in my grocery bill. Now my $600 a month in food assistance is plenty to get me through the month.

I am not quite to the point of not needing assistance, but I feel that I am on the path I need to be on. Rachel and Crosslines have been such a blessing in my life.