Sara’s story, sadly, is all too commonplace. She is the mother of four children, and having been a stay-at-home mom for over ten years, she found herself with very limited job options after a divorce. An extremely tight budget didn’t allow for any extras like internet service at her rural residence, and the expense of traveling made it very difficult, if not impossible, to even find work or assistance. A long, cold winter and the accompanying heating and energy bills pushed that tight budget to its breaking point, and she found herself in desperate straits. At one point she was left without propane for five days and was forced to use inefficient, and dangerous, electric space heaters to stave off the biting cold. 

Sara’s case worker at Department of Human Services (DHS) referred her to TrueNorth, and she started out being assisted through our PASS Utility Program, and later through our emPower Heat and Energy Assistance Program. The TrueNorth Case Worker helping her was able to print hard copies of applications that she was unable to access online, and they developed a great relationship. Sara was also able to catch up on overdue property taxes with help from our Center for Nonprofit Housing’s Step Forward program, equip her kids with all the back-to-school supplies they needed through our Tools for School program, and celebrate a traditional Christmas with her children having “presents under the tree” through our Children’s Christmas program—demonstrating TrueNorth’s ability to assist clients with wrap-around services.

Because sometimes, life throws you more than one curve, TrueNorth works to build self-sufficiency across our programs and services. Rather than simply “hand out” support, our focus through education and skilled support is to encourage positive choices and a proactive attitude.

“It’s even impacted my children—they want to donate extra food from our garden to your Food Pantry to sort of give back,” said Sara. “I really appreciate TrueNorth being there to help people like me in my situation… I don’t know what I would have done.” 

You can see Sara tell her story in her own words by viewing the video below.