When Edward spoke to his pastor one evening last year, he was desperate. He had skills in nonprofit management, media and banking but because his immigration status was unconfirmed, he wasn’t able to work. His wife’s hours as a personal care attendant had recently been reduced, and they didn’t have enough money for rent or groceries.
Edward had been worshiping at Redeemer Covenant Church in Brooklyn Park since coming to Minnesota from Sierra Leone to reunite with his wife. The pastor recommended CEAP (Community Emergency Assistance Programs), a United Way partner agency, and the next day Edward shared his story with staff.
CEAP quickly realized Edward was in an emergency situation, and set him up with food assistance and a loan to pay his family’s August rent. CEAP also helped Edward get his immigration status clarified. Once that happened, Edward looked for work and was soon contacted by Target. CEAP provided a reference and Edward began work as a sales associate, where he excelled. He began paying back the rent loan $10 at a time.
Today, Edward is enrolled in a training program at Wells Fargo to become a full-time bank teller, while working at Target on weekends, and he’s also pursuing a business degree at Rasmussen College. He and his wife still receive some food assistance, and Edward said CEAP’s food shelf, in which clients can select the food they would like, “is a nice and dignified way to shop for food.” He also appreciates the Healthy Savings card he received from CEAP which gets him $10 off on healthy food at the local Cub Foods store.
“The money you invest in CEAP through United Way is touching souls,” said Edward.