Yesterday morning while scrolling though Facebook posts on my phone, I ran across a post a friend of mine had shared.
It was a copy of a Craigslist ad posted by a young mother. In it she said that she and her son had no food. She went on to describe her situation, and it was sad to say the least.
Last summer she'd been homeless. Now she was trying to turn her life around, was enrolled in school full time and had applied for Food Stamps, but didn't expect to receive anything for another two weeks. She pleaded for someone to help her and her child. This young woman had also been the victim of domestic abuse.
I commented to my friend, trying to ascertain if the ad was legitimate and got no reply.
Now this isn't something you can 'unread'. I replied to the ad, asking if she was still needing assistance. Her words back to me were, "Yes, Please."
We messaged back and forth, during which time she told me her son was three and his favorite food was grilled cheese sandwiches. I got her address, which was not far from me, raided my freezer, cupboard and sent my son-in-law to the grocery story with a list.
At first she was afraid of a man coming to her door, but after my reassurances she agreed. I watched and she took the ad down almost immediately, knowing help was coming.
I asked her about personal product, and ended up buying toilet paper, garbage bags and dish soap. I also added several treats she hadn't asked for.
t turned out that my husband and son-in-law made the trip. Thankfully another family had also responded and were carrying food to her door.
When she opened the door, they could see that she was very young. She had no furniture to speak of, no couch or chairs and a 13" TV sitting on the floor. There were toys visible, but not much else.
So, you would think this was the end of the story, right? A young mother reaches out for help and people in the community respond. Not quite.
Later last night my daughter called me to tell me a a Facebook page was blowing up with negative comments about this mother. They called her a scam artist with all the usual rants.
"There are programs for people like that!"
Really? People like what?
"There were lots of people who took her food!"
So, this is bad, why?
"She's taking advantage of people!"
Oh, yeah, she's really living high on the hog, lap of luxury. Snort.
Frankly, I don't care if she got enough groceries to last and her child six months.I hope some kind-hearted soul wrote her a check so she could go buy a bed!
I didn't get in the conversation, it was too much like an angry mob where everyone opened their mouth and let their ignorance spill out, fowl smelling and bitter.
Abused women are not, as a rule, aggressive or fighters. They don't go into Social Services and say, "Hey, I need help and I need it now! My child has no food, no bed."
No, they quietly go to the counter and ask for an application, make an appointment for maybe 2,3,4 weeks away and go home to wait their turn in silence and hunger. After their appointment they wait for the case to be opened and then wait some more to receive anything. (Twleve years as a social worker, I know what I'm talking about), It took a lot of courage for this young woman to reach out for help and I'll bet if she didn't have her precious son, she would be quietly starving.
I applaud her and I don't regret for one second what I did to help. It doesn't make me angry that so many others did too, it's reassuring to know there are still people in this world who give a crap. I'll bet most of the ones bitching didn't do a damn thing to help, are probably embarrassed by their selfishness and trying to justify it.
On a side note, I write about domestic discipline, not abuse. None of my characters would ever hit a woman with intent to harm or I would be writing my first funeral scene.