For single mother, exceptional need grant solves dilemma between work and caretaking

For single mother, exceptional need grant solves dilemma between work and caretaking

Single mothers face a daunting challenge: meet the demands of providing for their family while also being the sole caretaker of their children. Too often, this challenge becomes unsustainable when the dual roles conflict and force them to make choices between adequate care or earning enough to cover essentials.

Beatrice found herself in exactly this situation. She is a single mother who makes ends meet through her work as a cleaner and the odd jobs she is able to do to supplement her income. During the year, school plays an instrumental role in allowing Beatrice to work full time and during the summer she’s been able to count on a family member.

Unfortunately, that family member became unwell and unable to care for her youngest, leaving Beatrice with little time to figure out a solution and no good options. Childcare would cost more than half of the income she brought home every month, and this would force her family to go without essentials during the summer. Even then, she would have to choose between paying bills or feeding her children. Beatrice could apply for government benefits, but even if this processed in time, it would mean leaving her job and would put her in an endless cycle of dependency. 

As part of our Exceptional Needs Grant Program, the Barzilai Foundation met with Beatrice to review her situation and her options. We saw a hard-working mother who had always been able to juggle the demands of work and caretaking, but due to poor circumstances and even worse timing was left with no way to meet both needs. We wanted to find solution that let Beatrice make it through this temporary hardship with both her family’s well-being and her ongoing ability to provide for them intact. As a result, the Foundation sponsored the cost of childcare this summer. Beatrice maintains her employment and financial independence, the children are cared for and the family is able to plan and prepare for future situations with similar needs.

“I am so happy to have my job but not having care for my 6-year-old son caused me so much anxiety, I was even considering leaving my job,” Beatrice reflected. “I was trying to find anything that might allow me to keep working and not leave him alone. When this support came through I was over the moon. This has given me and my family peace of mind. Thank you.”

“Without childcare, Beatrice’s choices were a mix of bad and worse,” said Brandon Sosa, CEO of the Barzilai Foundation. “When we talked with Beatrice, something I admired was that she didn’t want to quit working and she didn’t want to be dependent. She was so proud that in the past she was able to plan for bigger needs and worked extra nights and weekends to save. She understood that if she could just get through these next few months, it would mean a world of difference for her family for the long term. Not just in their financial situation, but also in the example she would be to her children.”