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Patricia and Tony

Last year, the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation gifted $500,000 to the Diocese of Cleveland Emergency Assistance Fund, which provided resources to Catholic Charities on the frontline helping those affected by the pandemic.

Patricia and her husband Tony have faced many difficulties during the pandemic but were able to receive help paying rent and utility bills from Catholic Charities.

After going in for a routine doctor’s appointment, Patricia was discovered to have low oxygen levels and was transferred to a hospital. She was hospitalized for a week with COVID-19. During the first week of April as she was preparing to leave, Patricia received a call from her husband, who was being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.

“So it’s like now I’m sitting here with papers all over the floor, trying to figure out my bills and stuff, and then I’m worrying about him too,” Patricia says.

Because she and her husband are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), these benefits were limited when Tony entered the hospital; however, there were still bills to be paid. Patricia began to call for help.

“I just started dialing numbers until finally someone called me,” Patricia says.

She received an immediate call back from Catholic Charities Family and Community Outreach Center at Blessed Trinity in Akron, which was able to help her pay the rent and water bill – thanks to the Emergency Assistance Fund.

In addition to the Outreach Center’s financial assistance provided by the emergency fund, the center offers programs like counseling services, community hot meals, Help Me Grow home visiting, and immigration legal services.

“I’ve never reached out to anybody like that for help,” Patricia states. “It was my first time to do it, and I cried. I had big tears in my eyes.”

When she received the aid from the Outreach Center, her husband was still on a ventilator. During the peak of his illness, Tony’s heart stopped three times and he was placed on a feeding tube and received dialysis. He is now recovering in a nursing facility and learning how to walk again.

“It worked out good for us,” Patricia says about receiving help from Catholic Charities, “like I said, it’s still a struggle, but I’m doing what I have to do.”

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