AWARE & CAI Blue Process blue UDebbie is a single parent of five children, one with a disability.  She was recently diagnosed with a long-term illness and tires easily.  Debbie has participated in multiple AWARE in Evansville programs and this past year, has greatly benefited from AWARE’s partnership with 2nd Harvest Foodbank and the local food pantry.

As a small community, we are limited in the resources we receive to serve low-income residents.  Through strong working partnerships, AWARE looks “outside the box” to create different opportunities to help our families thrive. The new commercial-grade refrigerator secured by AWARE for the food pantry, along with special funding secured by AWARE through 2nd Harvest Foodbank enables Debbie (and all Evansville low-income households with children) to visit the food pantry not just once, but twice each month, doubling the amount of nutritious produce, dairy and meat products available to her.

Debbie is thrilled because she can now get more fresh vegetables and cheeses for her children.  “These are their favorite foods—they are addicted to them, but they are too costly for me to buy at the store,” she said.  “I am so grateful for this extra help.”

Debbie will soon return to school to get her GED.  She shared that as a parent, she has worried about the time away from her children and knew that they might miss out on opportunities because she wouldn’t be available to drive them.

AWARE had previously identified the need for support for local low-income teens who could not afford to take the driver’s education course and had researched ways to address the issue.  By that time, AWARE was already working with Evansville High School to create a program to fill the need.  In May, AWARE launched the new Driver’s Education Scholarship program for local low-income teens.

Debbie’s daughter Allia was excited to learn that she could now afford to take driver’s education and get her license.  Allia’s application stated that she would like to get her license so that she could help her mom with her younger sisters while her mom goes back to school and work, “so we can do better.”  Not only will the class teach her to be a safe and confident driver, but it will also provide her with an essential tool needed in our rural area to become a self-sufficient adult.