The Importance of “Being There”

Along with the joy of children come challenges, as well. One that many parents face is the cost of items that little ones simply must have. Diapers, for instance, are absolute essentials, and the average cost of diapering just one child is approximately $76.00 per month. Factor in single parenthood, a fixed income and struggles with mental illness, and you have a situation that can be very challenging. With time, education and patience, however, growth happens. The Bridge social worker, Sarah McCabe, MSW shares this story.

“When I started working here in late 2009, one of the first guests I saw was Margie (not her real name). At that time, she had just had a baby. Margie struggles with money management, and even though she receives her monthly stipend on a weekly basis, she always ran out of diapers at the end of the month–always. I was usually able to give Margie diapers from the guest pantry here at The Bridge, but what I really wanted to do was communicate with Margie the importance of planning ahead so that she didn’t have to rely on someone else.”
“On Wednesday, August 3, I received a call from the front desk. ‘Margie is here, and she has money for you.’ At first, I thought she was offering to pay for the diapers that I had given her on her last visit, but it wasn’t that, at all. Margie had brought money to be deposited into a diaper account so that, when she ran out of diapers, she would be able to buy more. I was so excited! After two years of talking and trying different approaches, it finally clicked! Margie now realized the importance of setting aside money so that her baby would have diapers for the whole month. Personal responsibility. Money management. Planning for the future. What might, to some, seem like a small thing was, in fact, a really BIG deal.”
“It’s always gratifying when the work I’ve done with a guest pays off in very real ways, and this situation with Margie also brings up another element of social work–being there. It is so important to be available and accessible to our guests.”