As a nurse, Natalie is used to taking care of people. Over the Christmas season, however, she will be the one needing help as she recovers from back surgery.
“I fell on hard times,” Natalie said on a recent December morning. “It’s been a horrible year.”
The 41-year-old Lebanon County woman said this year’s hardship began in April after she dug a hole to plant a rosebud tree that she bought for her mother. The digging exasperated her ongoing back issues, which led to her losing her job as a nurse contractor.
She first came to Lebanon County Christian Ministries in the summer while on unemployment to obtain supplemental food for herself, her 18-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. In the fall, she started a new nursing position at a privately-owned practice.
Due to appointments preparing for her upcoming surgery, she had to take a lot of time off of work. Because of the surgery and length of recovery time, she said the practice could not hold her position. After just two months in her new role, she finds herself unemployed again.
Meet Shane, one of 130 guests on average who eat at LCCM's daily free noon meal
Meanwhile, Natalie returned to LCCM for a second time in November, this time for food and heating assistance.
“By the grace of God, (LCCM) was able to help me with 100 gallons of fuel oil and food,” she said.
Natalie says she is unable to receive short term disability, and has just a couple weeks left to collect unemployment. She fears she and her family may be facing homelessness in the New Year.
“I try not to let my kids see me cry,” she said. “But what do you do? You just have to keep going.”
Natalie’s hope for herself and her family is peace and security.
“I just hope that things get easier,” she said. “ I guess I just have to take care of myself first.”
Written by Andrea Gillhoolley, development manager, Lebanon County Christian Ministries. Contact her at email@example.com or call (717) 272 4400 ext. 211 to find out how you can become a supporter of LCCM to help change lives in Lebanon County.
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