Brenda moved herself and her business to the Cape 20 years ago, bringing 35 years of expertise in a highly specialized area in the visual arts world. After moving to the Cape, she met and married a man and they had a —now teenaged— son, but the marriage ended several years ago. She is hanging on to her house that was built in the 1970s and therefore needs a lot of repairs and updates such as window replacements.
She had been “gainfully employed” as she said, making a comfortable living doing work she loved. Unfortunately, it is exactly the type of business, when downturns such as a real estate bust or a pandemic happen, on which people will not spend money.
Brenda hit a bad patch in 2008 during the market crash, and reluctantly reached out to the Lower Cape Outreach Council for help with her electric bills. It was difficult and awkward for her, but they made her feel very comfortable. They were helpful and she was so grateful that when she was back fully employed, she donated to them for years. When the pandemic hit in 2020, the rug was again pulled out from under her, and she went from a comfortable income to zero in two weeks. She had a year’s worth of work lined up that came to a “screeching halt”. She was panicked. Her customers—museums, art galleries, elderly patrons—worried about money and/or closed their doors.
“It is great to know that when a crisis hits and our lives change literally on a dime, that there is a place like the Lower Cape Outreach Council on the Cape that can help,” she said, and added “we tend to think that this help is needed by people who can’t work or can’t be employed for health or physical reasons so struggle. But people on all economic levels can be hit just as hard, if only for a short time, and their need is acute. The help I required both times was instant and desperately needed.”
“This time they helped me with my sky-high electric bills—due to drafty windows— and it was nice to be so well-received by the people at LCOC. I got a feeling of support, understanding and validation that really helped when times are scary. It is not just the funds that make a difference, it is also the people who provide help at the Council. Their commitment and genuine desire to help is amazing,” Brenda added.