Hard-working Mom Needed a Little Boost

Kelsey has three children. At one time she enjoyed a wonderful marriage and a very stable home. That is, until drugs entered the picture and her husband became an addict. She makes every effort to stay strong for her children and works hard to cover the monthly expenses including working some overtime every single week. When the children’s father is working he sends child support but more often than not he is incarcerated and is unable to help. She is thankful for a good job and wonderful kids. This month she needed extra help with her rent and was able to cover the shortfall with overtime and Good Neighbors’ help.

A Single Dad and a Growing Family Get Assistance; Budgeting Coach Connecting with Families

When Charles came to Good Neighbors he was very depressed. He was in the midst of a painful divorce and had thankfully been granted custody of his young teenage daughter. First there was the breakup, then moving, then lost time from work and finally settling in to a new normal. He is very connected to his church and meets regularly with the pastor for support and compassion. Charles has been working in the same job for over 9 years and recognizes what a blessing the job is. Still life has been hard. GN assisted with a small natural gas bill and shared other resources that might help. When the follow up call reached Charles a few months later, he was doing much better. He assured the caller the visit and resources had been helpful and that life was turning around. He wanted us to know he is more than grateful for our help and the chance to talk to someone who would listen.

Esther and Frank brought delightful one month old twins to the office when they came to meet with a coach. Two older children complete their family. Excited to finally be moving into a new apartment they discovered just how expensive that can be. They need the extra bedroom and have been on a waiting list for some time. Through SURE funds, Good Neighbors was able to cover a portion of the rental deposit and they had already paid the utility deposit. When GN contacted this family with a question, we discovered they had used their tax return to pay ahead on their rent! Awesome.

The budget coach is hard at work. Meeting with neighbors and meeting with participants in the Family Promise Wheels to Work program are exciting. GN is anxious to watch this program grow. Every neighbor who comes in to meet with the coach is also being introduced to budgeting through a short video with tips and ideas of ways to save money. They can then schedule a one to one meeting with the budget coach.

Changing Hopelessness and Darkness into a Glimmer of Light

Maybe the best way to share our story is by sharing this google review from May…

“So incredibly awesomely grateful thankful and blessed by this place ms. Peggy Campbell was amazing so kind caring compassionate empathetic sympathetic emotionally mentally physically and spiritually as was Denise and so very helpful meeting and anticipating other needs mentioned and unmentioned as at the time of our meeting I was so very hungry and she gave me the name of a food bank that was open as we were speaking my father took me where I was blessed with fresh produce water meat and a sandwich which I ate in the parking lot ,ms. Peggy and good neighbors changed my hopelessness and darkness into a glimmer of light with hope and although I've always been the one helping encouraging others being a veteran and nurse for 36 years now being on the otherside having to ask for help is quite difficult but ms. peggy would have nothing of that I never felt less than or humiliated for this I'm forevermore grateful thankful and truly blessed again I thank you good neighbors and I thank you for having such a high quality caring staff”

Persistence and determination paid off for Grace. Her fiancé of many years passed away unexpectedly and left her without a home or a second source of income. Grace draws a small amount of disability due to some chronic health issues. A kind friend offered to rent an apartment to her at an affordable rate and gave her a month or two to pay the deposit. Once that was accomplished she needed to place the utilities in her name. She came to Good Neighbors asking for assistance with the utility deposit. After checking with the utility company, Good Neighbors issued the check from the SURE program for the deposit. Once Grace arrived at the utility company they determined that her lease was not acceptable. Grace has no transportation and could not secure a ride back there quickly. After about 10 days the utility company returned the check to Good Neighbors. Finally, Grace was able to return to the utility company only to find that her legal identification had expired during that time. More transportation and funding issues caused yet another delay. Grace stuck with it. She finally secured a new identification card and all requirements were met. She returned to GN and the utility deposit was covered once again. GN is very proud of this neighbor for working through this hardship at a very difficult time.

Sam has severe back issues and has endured three surgeries so far and another is being scheduled. Both he and his wife work but mostly live paycheck to paycheck. There are two teenagers in the household as well. Sam works as a caregiver but is only able to work with patients who do not require lifting. This restriction has impacted his income they are unable to cover the entire May utility bill. He had already paid a large portion and GN was able work with a church to cover the rest. Hopefully he will soon recover from his health issues and be back to a regular work schedule. Sam and his family will take advantage of the local food pantries and opportunities for meals over the summer.

Good news for All!

Sarah is a single parent with three children.  One of her children is autistic and is enrolled in public school.  One of the two pre-school children has heart issues and has to be constantly monitored making it extremely difficult for Sarah to keep employment. Struggling with her own health issues, her parents have helped as much as they can.  Since she had last been to GN almost 2 years ago, she has earned her GED.  She was eager to receive information on temporary employment agencies and is thinking she would like to take classes to become a CNA.  At the time of this appointment, Sarah was facing a utility cut-off.  GN was able to assist with the bill and cut-off was avoided.


Bette and her husband were unprepared financially for the current situation.  They have been always been able to make their budget work.  However, over the course of the last month her husband (a self-employed plumber) suffered two heart attacks and will be unable to return to work.  They are doing everything they can to keep up with the medical bills and file for disability so they can work through the situation at hand.  While Bette will soon be old enough for Social Security, her husband is several years younger.  Adding to the frustration is a lack of transportation.  GN was able to cover most of the utility bill and share other resources to assist in this time of transition.


Daniel has a good job, but is paid hourly.  Over the last few weeks his hours have been cut affecting his pay.  Behind on his rent he was fearful that he would be evicted.  When the coach spoke with the landlord it was clear that he had been a good tenant and she was willing to work with him.  He walks to work and is checking into another job that is close enough to walk to as well.  He makes use of a food pantry close by, but was glad to receive information about other resources.  Through the GRACE fund GN was able to pay one month’s rent giving him the opportunity to change his work situation.


Woohoo!  Time to celebrate!  Good Neighbors referred one of our neighbors to the “Wheels to Work” program in October.  December brought joyful news!  This young mom has “wheels”!  She has a good job and has been solely dependent on her mother for transportation.  Now she is able to manage getting to work easily!  Congratulations! 

Life changes……

More than 5 years have passed since George had visited Good Neighbors for assistance.  As a single parent with custody of three step-children he is a very involved parent.  Life had been going well until he found himself in need of a new job which also caused him to be behind on his utility bill. When he came in asking for assistance with a utility bill he was actively seeking a new job and hoping to find one soon.  Three months later he has a new job, had used several of the resources shared by the coach and was very appreciative of the assistance he received. He had made contact with the Family Resource Center for extra resources with the children and was feeling confident that life was going well.

Single parenting is tough.  Having the privilege of living in subsidized housing helps the budget.  Linda has a full time job and usually is able to cover all her bills, but a recent illness put her behind.  This month she was struggling to cover all of the rent.  With help from Good Neighbors and the Family Resource Center Linda was able to get the rest of the rent covered.  She was grateful for the additional resources as well.

With 2 pre-school children Alice has been limited on the hours she can work but she does have a good job.  She has two very positive things going for her.  First, she was able through the SURE grant to move into a new place with more affordable rent and very near her closest family member who has agreed to help with the children while she works.  Secondly, she is now in the Habitat program and when completed (this could take some time) may be able to secure a house of her own!  This was great news discovered during the three month follow up call.  She is current on rent and utilities and moving forward.

Caregiver Receives Care

Martha first came to Good Neighbors in 2011, struggling to care for her deaf & autistic son and her mother who suffered with Alzheimers.  She has been to GN once or twice since that time but has managed mostly on her own.  At this visit she needed a small amount of assistance with her utility bill.  Since we last had seen her, her son has found a job and been working for almost 5 years.  She is no longer able to work but volunteers at the skilled care facility where her mother once lived as well as serves at the food pantry at her church.  She truly has made the best of a tough situation.  GN covered a small portion of the utility bill, and Martha paid the rest.  Wow!  Another happy ending!

A New Hope

Jeannie moved to Blount County from Nashville with her two children to escape an abusive husband.  She came to Good Neighbors seeking assistance for a rental deposit to provide a safe home for her family.   She was able to share her difficult history with the coach.  She is working through the trauma of having suffered severe abuse by her parents before moving into the foster system.  Jeannie was able to raise the funds required through Good Neighbors and several other agencies, and also completed a budgeting course offered by Peninsula.

GED = Job!

Earlier this year Doris came to Good Neighbors seeking assistance with her utilities.  She is a single mother of three, was unemployed and lacked a high school degree.   Her coach provided financial assistance for her utilities and encouraged Doris to pursue a GED and connect with the TN Career Center (now America’s Job Center).  Doris returned in September again seeking assistance; however, she had attained her GED and secured a new job which starts in October!  She now has a renewed sense of confidence and self-respect, and is more hopeful about her ability to provide for her children.

From Homeless to Hopeful

Greg and Mellissa have no car and walk everywhere.  Greg was working in a neighboring county and was able to catch a ride with another employee.  They have two children in the county school system.  Life was tough but “doable” until Greg lost his job when the owner became ill and had to close the business.  The family was forced to move and had to consider a location that transportation would be good for the children and within reach of a new job. When they came to GN, they were homeless and had spent a night or two in the car.  Being resourceful, they had located a trailer to rent and were able to cover the rental deposit but had no funds left for utilities.  Through the SURE grant, GN was able to pay the utility deposit and the family was able to have a safe place to sleep and live.  Many other resources were shared with this family.  It’s always a blessing to know a family is not left stranded on the streets.

One Big Family

Just over a year ago Grace came to Good Neighbors seeking some assistance and information after she and her husband of 30 years accepted at least temporary custody of 3 teenage nephews.  What an experience as they discovered just how much young men eat and how much water they use!  At that time she had a utility bill that she was unable to pay completely. GN assisted with the bill and life was good.  Then a few months ago her husband had an unexpected health crisis and she is grateful he was able to pull through.  They have now adopted the nephews and can’t imagine life any other way, but the medical bills are piling up.  Her husband is now permanently disabled and unable to provide as he once did.  If it were not for food stamps and free meals at school the budget would be even more difficult.  Good Neighbors referred Grace to the Family Resource Center and assisted with an overdue water bill.  Referral was also made to Community Action Agency for LIHEAP.  Grace was extremely appreciative of the assistance and vows to “get those boys through school”. 

Agencies work together for Single Mom

Debbie is a single parent with 3 “tweenagers” in the house.  She draws a small amount of disability and also a small amount from Families First.  Her rent is reasonable, but still requires close to 50% of her income.  When she arrived at Good Neighbors she had a utility bill over $300 for last month and the newest bill for $140 more.  She was worried about utility disconnection and eviction.  There are major medical issues to consider as well.  During the interview, the coach recommended that she contact Community Action about the utility bill.  Once that connection was made and the determination was made that Debbie met the guidelines, the utility bill was paid and Debbie actually had a very small credit toward her next bill.  Many other resources were shared and Debbie was most appreciative.  Best news!

Grace Abounds

Penny lives in subsidized housing and was unable to pay the full rental amount.  This month has been rough because her car has required several repairs.  She has cancer and is facing more medical tests, but the prognosis is not good. She has a great attitude and knows that her time is somewhat limited.  She also has full custody of her granddaughter who will soon be a teenager.  Arrangements have already been made for transitional custody when she is no longer able to take care of her.  Penny was grateful for information on food pantries, Welcome Table and the Family Resource Center.  Information was shared about Hope for Today and the support they offer.  Penny was able to cover all the rent except for the last $100.  GN paid the balance.  Penny is looking forward and making plans.  She is a blessing.

Churches pitch in on bill

Sally came to Good Neighbors for help with a utility bill.  She had an unusually high utility bill because her pipes had burst.  Her landlord did repair them and insulated them.  She is very frugal- though she uses electric heaters, she turns them very low at night.  When she arrived she had already paid most of her bill.  With the help of two area churches, we were able to get the rest paid.

HiSET Hopes

Helen and her boyfriend bought a trailer but the utility bill was very high during the cold months this winter and they needed a little help.  Helen works for a fast food company and is working toward getting her HiSET. She has recently been promoted at work and she and her boyfriend are doing all they can to better themselves.  Resources were shared and Good Neighbors was able to help with the last part of their utility bill. Things are getting brighter for them.

Stable Housing

It was a big month for the SURE program. Good Neighbors was able to partner with Family Promise and Peninsula while assisting two different families with utility deposits. Both families had children and had been homeless. One family completed the Family Promise program and needed a little extra help with a utility deposit after finding a new place to live and the other family’s case worker had found a way to pay deposits for rental but this family needed assistance with the utility deposit. Good Neighbors was able to assist with both utility deposits and both families are now on their way to a stable environment for their children. Armed with multiple resources and new hope they are ready to face a new day!

Getting Caught Up

Trina came to Good Neighbors seeking assistance with the utility bill. She has been living on her own for several years and has done well. She has a good job that she really enjoys and feels appreciated by the management. She has some college credits and wants to continue with her education. She served in the military for nine months and was discharged due to a medical condition. All was well until she met her now previous boyfriend and allowed him to move in with her. After several months she discovered that he was stealing from her to fund his drug habit. When confronted he revealed he had not only stolen more than money, household items were also missing. She made him leave and has now found that bills were not paid that she assumed were paid and she is trying to catch up. Good Neighbors was able to help her with a portion of her utility bill. She is working a lot of overtime to catch up and her landlord is very understanding. Trina was able to pay the rest of the utility bill and plans to be all caught up by the end of March. She appreciated the extra resources she was given.