Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.

Can You Live Without Your Phone?

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We received a call from a young mother of a two-year-old, who just learned she is pregnant.  She was so overwhelmed with her situation that she didn't know what type of help to ask for.  The home where she was living was condemned due to a bad leak. She and her son were suddenly homeless.  After talking for a while, I realized Cell Phoneone of the reasons she was so overwhelmed was that she only had one day left before the phone company planned to shut off her phone due to lack of payment.  "My whole world is on that phone.  Its the only way I can reach any one left who might be able to help me.  My worst fear is that something will happen and I won't be able to call in an emergency call for my son.  What if he gets sick?"  When I told her that Catholic Charities would pay the $40 to keep her phone on another month, the young woman broke down in tears.  I knew that it was important that staff have a way to reach this mother and child.  I knew that it would take several calls to convince relatives to provide temporary shelter.  What I didn't know was that such a small gesture would provide such hope.
Right now the Mom and child are living with an aunt.  Our case manager will help her to connect with resources, secure housing, employment, and day care.  We will make sure the Mom has the know-how and support to prepare for the birth of her child.  We were able to ease the struggles for this family simply because a generous angel thought to donate a pre-paid phone service card.  The chances that this family will be OK is greater because she has a phone--a way to seek help.  We sometimes have the need to give a family a pre-paid phone.  We have given phones to women escaping domestic violence,  runaway youth, a homeless person attempting to get housing or a job, and a family who was traveling across the country to a new home.  If you are seeking a unique and immediate way to help a family in need, donating a pre-paid phone might mean the difference between help or no help.  A phone may be the only lifeline a person in crisis may have. Can I live without my phone?  Maybe --I have a lot of resources.  Can a person in crisis live without a phone?---I'm not so sure.
By Diane Bullard, 
Piedmont Triad Regional Office Director
Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte © 2014