Jenny is a single mom with an 11-year-old daughter named Samantha. Sam attends Davidson Middle School in San Rafael. Jenny moved to San Rafael 23 years ago and was married for 13 years before divorcing her husband when Sam was young. The divorce was a big transition for the family, and Jenny went through some difficult times. When the economy collapsed in 2009, she lost her job and spent a whole year out work. The cost of living in Marin County took a toll on Jenny, and forced her to take on onerous amount of debt.
Fortunately, Jenny now works roughly 40 hours each week, but she has to cobble the hours together at three jobs in different cities: Sausalito, Greenbrae and Larkspur. Because she doesn’t have enough hours with a single employer, Jenny doesn’t have employer-sponsored health insurance and must pay for an insurance policy out of pocket. Sam is covered on her ex-husband’s health insurance.
Three years ago Jenny came to Ritter Center for help, and Sam has participated in Ritter’s Back to School Program ever since. Jenny says, “The back to school program has been a gift from the universe! Sam was able to get everything she needed for school, and Ritter saved us from getting into more debt. I will be forever grateful. Sam loves all of her stuff and uses it every day. The program takes the edge off and makes it easier on us parents.” When asked what Sam would buy with her Old Navy gift card, Jenny indicated she was always in need of new clothes because she outgrows her old ones so fast, and she really needs a new pair of tennis shoes.
Jenny also receives free groceries from Ritter Center’s food pantry every week and participates in our Family-to-Family Holiday Sharing Program so that Sam can receive toys and gifts during the holiday season. Jenny says, “I can’t work any harder to make ends meet, and Ritter really comes through for us.” Jenny is not content to just receive assistance from Ritter Center – she tries to also volunteer a few hours each week in-between her three jobs in order to give back and pay it forward.
A positive development in Jenny’s life is that her parents and her sister’s family have all moved to the Bay Area in the past year, which has been amazing –Jenny says that having her family nearby has been a dream come true.
When asked what she would like to say to all of the donors who make it possible for Ritter Center to help her and other families, Jenny said, “I wish I could thank your donors personally. What they give to Ritter is an amazing karma that they will get back in return. Giving is the only way to be happy, and they are doing the right thing. Thanks tons from the bottom of my heart!”