Karen’s Story

Karen a teaching assistant and mother of two teenagers in the Monomoy school system, has seen her two summer side jobs virtually dry up. Ordinarily, she would be catering on weekends starting in May with a full summer schedule of catering jobs along with a side job of rental changeovers—check-ins and cleaning between guests. When COVID hit she realized that it meant a different income situation for her and her family. Catered gatherings were no longer an option and even rentals took a big hit, or owners were renting for a longer period of time and she wasn’t needed. She felt lucky that her teaching assistant job would continue, although remotely. She was also relieved to learn that she was hired as a summer schoolteacher.

A divorce two years ago had greatly affected her income. Keeping the family home, meant that the financial burden would now be hers alone. “These last two years have been a bit of a blur; it was daunting and a bit gut-wrenching to find that I suddenly had all the responsibility of the household. I had a plan in place and then the coronavirus hit and that went out the window,” she articulated.

Her daughter graduated with the Class of 2020 and will attend college in Rhode Island. “She is very independent and applied for every scholarship and grant there is. She got into her first-choice college and even traveled to the college to successfully negotiate for more financial aid from them when she felt they didn’t offer enough. I don’t worry about her. She has a job at a local eatery as a “car hop” helping to deliver food to the patrons,” Karen says.

Her son is slated to enter the service when he graduates next year. Ordinarily he would have a summer job to support his activities and help the household a little, but he is in quarantine for two weeks before he goes up for the summer training and enlistment procedure. He plans to find a job when that is completed.

Theresa Malone at the Chatham Children’s Fund told her about the Lower Cape Outreach Council (LCOC) and so Karen contacted Gennie, who worked with her to fill out the online application. LCOC helped with one month’s mortgage payment which was huge,” Karen said, “and happened at the most opportune time in the process of looking at all the options with my local bank. We were so far behind—getting into the “red area”—and I did not want to lose the house where I raised my kids after fighting for it during my divorce. We were looking at forbearance and repayment plans. Receiving this money allowed me to relax for a moment and helped me to stay positive.”

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