Catherine | Employment Resource Center
Catherine, 72, had been retired for more than 9 years when her doctors advised her to find something to keep her active. Her husband recently passed away and Catherine knew she needed to get out of the house, to do something with others, and help supplement her income. “I sat all alone, depressed, worried about my finances and began to give up on life. But I’m a people person and knew it was time to get out of the house and get back on my feet.”
Catherine began the search for a part-time job but quickly became overwhelmed. Nothing came to fruition — not until she discovered Care for Real’s ERC Program and met our staff at a Senior Fair. Catherine is now working at the front desk at a realtor agency and answering phone calls and helping with people’s questions. “I get to meet people every day and assist them with a variety of questions. Every day is something different! I am so happy,” she said. “I am able to help people now, and I love it. I am able to do things now that I couldn’t do before.”
For now, Catherine says she’s happy in her current position. “It’s been a blessing,” Harbin said. “I love where I’m at and what I’m doing. “
Thomas, Army Veteran | Employment Resource Center
“Thank you Care for Real for bringing a job program to Edgewater. Everyone at this agency is a true professional and with a dedicated, focused attitude towards the veterans they are aiding. My experience was very amazing; I have never been a part of anything like it. I praise you guys for the commitment to the one-on-one experience. Thank you!”
Joseph, Navy Cook | Employment Resource Center
“I started searching for jobs after returning home from the military. I then heard about Care for Real’s Job Program when I signed up as a client and sat down with one them to learn more about what they offer. I’m glad that I found Care for Real! The people are outstanding. To me, the ERC is a definite success, so hats off to the Care for Real team. Day 1 was great, because it got me involved with the resume and interview process. Day 2 interviews were a valuable lesson for me, as well, since it had been a very long time since I had an interview. Please keep up the great work! This is what we need to do to help our veterans. Now I’m working as a sous chef for a downtown restaurant and able to subsidize my income between my earnings and Care for Real’s program assistance.”
Therese | Employment Resource Center
“In November 2014, the president of my company walked in and told us that our office would close immediately and medical benefits would stop that day. I received severance (twelve weeks of pay for twelve years). I am a single mother of two beautiful children and discovered how hard it was to find a job.” states Therese. “I was embarrassed to have to have to seek help but dollars were stretched and, living from paycheck to paycheck, I didn’t have the financial back up to feed my family and keep up with my bills. I felt scared and alone.”
She continues, “I knew about Care for Real but never appreciated the work they do and what a warm feeling I got when I came to them for assistance. I found out about their job program and they helped me connect with a hospital seeking housekeepers. I’m lucky. The folks at Care for Real helped me update my resume and I secured an interview quickly. They are lifesavers for people like me.”
Aida, Gigi and Poppy | Pet Pantry
Aida is an immigrant who landed here in Chicago, along with her husband, thirty years ago. When her husband passed away recently, Aida adopted two small dogs, Gigi and Poppy, that provide her with companionship and friendship. Money has always been tight, especially now that she is on her own, and her monthly income barely covers her rent and utilities. We discovered Aida, through our client interviews, was going hungry so she could feed her pets. Every month, the Care for Real Pet Pantry Program provides the pet food to Aida so she and her pets are able stay healthy and happy. “I would be lost without Gigi and Poppy. Thank the stars that I have Care for Real to turn to for support. I’d be lost with my babies.” said Aida. “I don’t know what I would do without your help.”
Gloria and Pete | Pet Pantry
When Gloria adopted Pete, she had no idea how much joy this feisty addition to her family would bring to her. Gloria is a senior living on a fixed income and lost her husband a number of years ago after a long battle with cancer. After his passing, Gloria fell into depression. Her friends encouraged her to visit a local shelter and consider adopting a pet. Once she saw Bandit, she fell in love with him.
Unfortunately, Gloria’s precious food stamps were cut last year and her social security benefits have been reduced. At the same time, her rent has increased along with monthly utility bills. Dollars were getting very tight and Gloria was going hungry in order to feed Pete. At a Senior Fair where Care for Real was invited to set up a table, distribute program materials and meet many seniors who share Gloria’s story, we were able to introduce her to our Pet Pantry Program and she now participates every month.
“Pete is the sweetest dog, who has energy, but also wants to cuddle. After my husband passed, I became reclusive. But Pete forces me to get out and walk. The day he came home with me, he changed my life. I realized instantly just what a miracle was. This precious angel is MY ANGEL! Care for Real is a blessing to me. Thank you so much for helping me feed Pete. I don’t know what I would do without you all.”
The Rodriguez Family | Pet Pantry
The Rodriquez Family has been experiencing a series of challenges that began when Louis lost his job at Dominick’s (a major supermarket chain that closed up shop in Chicago a few years ago). Martha works at a housekeeper and cleaning lady but the family’s monthly income was becoming stretched leading to very difficult decisions. The family of five also has three dogs that are important to their home. One of the children, Lucy, is autistic. The pets have helped Lucy engage with others and become more socially active. Kiki, Toby and Pedro have made a significant impact in the lives of The Rodriguez Family – especially Lucy’s. As Louis strives to get back on his feet, keeping up with utilities, food, school supplies and health costs were about to cause the family to give up their pets to a shelter. By coming to Care for Real and taking home food supported by The Banfield Charitable Trust, The Rodriguez’s are able to continue to ensure the pets remain part of the household.
“It’s hard to put into words just how much Care for Real and their Pet Pantry means to us.” said Martha. “You are a lifesaver in so many ways. And we thank you for allowing us to keep our pets and make sure they stay happy and healthy. We lost sleep worried about how the loss of our dear pets would have on Lucy. You have no idea how much we appreciate all you do to help families, and families that have children with disabilities, hold on to their loved ones.