Mary’s Story

Mary is a 53-year-old who lives in a studio apartment and loves to read. A few years ago, she was without a home, spending over 4 years couch surfing and sleeping on the street. That’s when she found ShelterCare and received an apartment; however, she lacked the income to pay for basic necessities such as toilet paper, trashbags, and tissues. “Living without basic necessities is very, very emotionally trying,” Mary says. After getting a hysterectomy, and still no income, she reached an all time low when she didn’t have the supplies to support her post-surgery needs. She had to beg for toilet paper from her friends and use denture tablets to make cleaning supplies. All the while, she was dealing with PTSD, depression, and suicidal tendencies.

Mary was helped by her ShelterCare peer-supporter to get into the Zero Income Program (ZIP). Mary says, “I’m so grateful for the ZIP program. It literally saved my life.” Every month her peer-support person would deliver a pack of essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, spray cleaner, toilet cleaner, dish soap, and dental floss. Mary’s spirits lifted and she regained a sense of forward momentum in her life. She no longer had to worry about the basics and could finally focus on healing. Now Graduated from ZIP after getting on Social Security and Disability income, she enjoys going to the store and buying things like she did when she was a kid. Mary hopes to spend the rest of her life with her apartment, to live as independent as she can, and make frequent trips to the Springfield library to read her favorite stories. 

Thank you Maybelle Clark MacDonald Fund for making ShelterCare’s ZIP Program possible, and for providing people like Mary with the supplies they need to succeed.

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