Each weekday morning, the phone lines at Interfaith Community Services light up.
It is the daily rush of calls from Pima County residents facing a variety of problems including hunger and/or inadequate funding for housing or other necessities. It is seniors needing help with transportation and other caregiving services. It is individuals with questions about health care resources, medical equipment or more.
Everyday, ICS helps many local individuals and families obtain the vital necessities that they might otherwise be forced to go without.
18% of Pima County residents and 98% of our recipients, fall below the Federal Poverty Level. Many of these are working poor families who lack health insurance and do not qualify for public health care. Often, they live on the edge of homelessness. ICS is frequently the last resort…and the place to find help. For thousands of individuals each year, a modest amount of support from the ICS Food Bank, Gifts of Love or Emergency Financial Assistance program makes the difference between maintaining financial stability or going under.
16% of residents in Pima County are seniors (65 or older) and 25% of them need some assistance maintaining independent living. ICS helps them with services such a Mobile Meals, transportation, wellness calls, and health advocacy home visits.
ICS provides a wide range of services to help people in financial crisis stabilize their housing, employment and healthcare; and programs that assist seniors and disabled individuals in remaining safe and healthy at home. ICS programs link together to offer more than short-term help; we work with clients to build long-range solutions that promote sustainability.
Sarah, a single mother of two, started coming to the ICS Food Bank after being laid off when the company she worked for closed. She first used her savings to support her family, and when that ran out, Sarah found that her unemployment benefits didn’t provide enough to cover the rent and put food on the table. ICS provided Sarah with emergency food boxes and items to help her family stretch their food resources. Recently, Sarah was beaming when she walked into the building. As usual she handed her food bank ID card to the front-desk volunteer, but she said,
“You can keep that. I wanted to let you know I found a job today. Thank you for all you’ve done for my family. I didn’t want to ask for help, but the kindness of everyone here made it so much easier. God bless you for being here.”
Mary, a single mother, came to ICS for help with her utilities. As she talked with the ICS case worker, Mary mentioned she was concerned that her 13-year-old son Miguel had no role models and was falling in with the wrong crowd while she was at work. He loved sports and dreamed of playing football, but Mary couldn’t afford to purchase the equipment and uniform he needed to join his middle school team. Through the Youth Enrichment and Activities program ICS was able to cover these costs. Miguel joined the team and his mother reports he had a great year.
“His mental outlook has improved. He learned respect for his coach and team members. He made new friends, and he’s doing much better in school.”
Esther is like many ICS Mobile Meals recipients. After undergoing major surgery she had to move into an apartment at an assisted living facility. Her new home puts medical help close by but it doesn’t include meals. With limited mobility and few resources, Esther often struggled to get food that met her health needs. Everything changed when she called ICS.
“I used to wonder where my next meal was coming from,” Esther said. “This made all the difference in the world. Mobile Meals saved my life.”
Esther receives two meals each weekday. The food is freshly prepared by one of ICS’s Mobile Meals community partners—local health and senior living facilities—and it meets her doctor’s requirements.
“The meals are thought out—well-balanced and well-prepared.” The folks who make the meals put their heart and soul into it.”
As important as the food is, Esther says she gets so much more from ICS Mobile Meals.
“The volunteers don’t just deliver the food. They stop and visit, ask me about myself and tell me about themselves. They cheer you up. It’s a little bit of sunshine. You find yourself looking forward to it.”