A 21st Century Journalism Project

A Womens struggle for stability

In People on May 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm


Not everyone has the luxury of owning having a good job, owning a nice house, and making ends meet. And many Americans every day face the fact of not being able to pay the bills or put food on the table.  Some people need the help of Food Banks, Food stamps, and shelters.

A girl named Danielle Richter, 23, has struggled with money every day of her life. Danielle grew up in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania a small town near Butler.

Growing up her parents didn’t teach her how to save her money for bills and food. “Growing up my parents never had a lot of money and I was never taught that you needed to save for anything. But obviously when I got into college I realized that wasn’t true”, Danielle said.

Then Danielle went to college and reality hit. Most students struggle through college making ends meet because there isn’t time for a full time job. “I worked at Perkins a few hours a week but that didn’t help out much with the bills. Then I got a job at Lowes which made me a little more money but they wanted me to work too many hours and I could not keep up with my school work”.

Woman surrounded by debt. Photo credited to google images

When money ran short and bills persisted, Danielle had a turn for the worst. She got a few credit cards to lighten her load for the month. “I got three credit cards total because I figured if I kept charging everything I needed I would have the money by the end of the month to pay it off. But it went bad and I am now in $2700 dollars in debt on just one credit card.”

Danielle got all the help she could from organizations around her. She’s been going to the food pantry in Edinboro for a few years now. “Everyone at the food pantry is so nice and welcoming. It’s not a very comfortable feeling to go somewhere because you need help but when I go there I don’t feel like it is asking for help.”

In her last year of college Danielle decided she needed food stamps. “I hate having to fill out so much paper work for help but it is what puts food on the table. Food stamps are a big help to me because once I pay the bills at the end of the month there’s not much more money left so the food stamps help me a lot in that category.”

“Then in my last few months of college I got into a car accident. My car got totaled which made it impossible for me to get to my job. Eventually I just had to quit because I couldn’t call off anymore. It was really disappointing to keep having to rely on someone else to get everywhere on top of that to not have a job.”

Electric shut off. Photo credited to google images.

There have also been times Danielle had to go without paying some bills. “I’ve had to sit in the dark in my apartment for a few weeks because I couldn’t afford to pay the bill. I spent many of those nights at my friend’s house just because it was somewhere I could shower”, she said.

Once Danielle finished college things did not get any better. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Edinboro. She was so happy to get a job and get on to better things.

“After college I was determined to get a job. I didn’t want to move to far away from my family so I only searched within the area for a job”, she said. “Now I currently have a job working on parent’s farm. I work hard for little pay and still barely get my bills paid. By now I thought I’d be married with kids and a home. But instead I’m working at home with my parents, barely making all the bills and trying to managing enough money to eat with.”

There are many others out there that live like Danielle every day. She pushes on through with a smile on her face in a hope in heart.


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