Imagine you are walking on a path through a peaceful woods. As you follow the path, you see lovely trees and beautiful flowers; nature at her finest, showing off. Abruptly, you come to a narrow precipice. In order to continue on your path, you must traverse this edge stepping carefully to avoid a dangerous fall. You can see, in the distance, the continuation of the calm space. To get there you must keep going. As you ponder the challenge, you nearly turn around and walk back the way you came, but you see a dangerous wild animal approaching from that direction. No longer able to reverse course, you take a first step on to the narrow ledge, ready to move ahead. There is no railing, no safety net, no help if you make an error. You have to progress slowly and you hope that nothing else will show up to make this once peaceful walk into a more treacherous journey. You know that if you can make it to the other side things will be better (at least for awhile) but getting there is going to be scary and hard.
This is exactly what life often looks like for families and individuals who are living paycheck to paycheck. They have just enough room to pay rent or a mortgage, to cover regular expenses like utilities and food, but if they get a flat tire or need new shoes, they risk slipping off the edge into the dark uncertainty of financial disaster with limited options for getting back to the idyllic wide path, able to know that needs are met and a buffer is available.
This is where charitable organizations like Giving Hope can help. We offer breathing room – a way back up to the ledge, a railing to hold onto before you slip off, a short term stop-gap that can lead to long term solutions. If we revisit the scenario in the first paragraph and add a railing or even a guide rope, the time spent on the edge is not only less dangerous, but it also takes a shorter amount of time to cross. There may still be fear and hazard, but the way forward is far less risky. In addition, the recognition that someone, somewhere has taken the time to make this better can ease the burden or sense that no one knows this struggle. It’s the breathing room that can make the difference between being homeless or hungry and being safe and fed.
The simple act of offering a gift card for gas, assisting with buying a spare tire, providing a bag of groceries, or paying a month’s rent are all ways that Giving Hope opens space for breathing room in the day-to-day lives of those who are working (or looking for work*), but whose financial situation doesn’t give them space for any emergency situations to be resolved easily. By supporting and collaborating with the families and individuals who come to us, we don’t necessarily solve every problem, but we create breathing room so they can focus on strategizing a more robust financial future for themselves and those whom they support.
*Giving Hope recognizes that for a variety of reasons some people are not able to work. These are people that have an even smaller window between enough and too little. Our efforts are designed to resource anyone and everyone.