Households flip to the Saskatoon Meals Financial institution for the primary time through the 2020 coronavirus pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many families are looking for help for the first time.

“I’m always grateful to be here with my kids and everyone for another day,” said Jessica Higginbotham.

Jessica is the mother of five children. During her last pregnancy, she developed a condition called peripartum cardiomyopathy, in which her heart was so weakened that she needed a transplant. In the past four years, Jessica has had two heart transplants and one kidney transplant.

“All of my children have PTSD from their long, scary trips to the hospital. I had to answer questions like, ‘Is mom coming home?’ not ‘When will mom come home?’ “When COVID got scared of that bug out there, it ruined me, man,” said Jessica’s husband, Jeremiah Higginbotham. “I can tell her, ‘Stay home, Don, I’m not going anywhere but I have to make the money. “

The couple used much of their savings to pay for the transplants and medical care.

“First they released us from overtime. We workers live on overtime,” said Jeremiah. “Then they cut us down to 36 hours, which was less than 40 hours, so almost half of my income was taken away.”

Soon after, the family tested positive for COVID-19.

“I got it and within 24 hours my husband got it,” said Jessica. “We have five children, so the older two got it.”

“She told me at 7am that she tested positive,” added Jeremiah. “It wasn’t the scariest day of my life, but it was like, ‘What am I doing?’ I can’t do anything. I’m petrified. I couldn’t go to work. I called. “
Although Jessica is in a high risk category for the virus, she and the family survive. But for the first time in their lives, they couldn’t pay their bills. So they went to a partner agency of the Saskatoon Food Bank.

“When we visit, it’s only because we need it. We don’t go every week, even every month. Sometimes it’s every six weeks or every two and a half months,” explained Jessica. “We get the non-perishable items, but then we also get the perishable items like milk and meat and produce, and that helps a lot.”

“It’s difficult. I don’t like it. I work hard to support the family and that’s not something you want to do,” said Jeremiah. “It’s not that there’s pride just asking for help, it’s not fun. It’s an uncomfortable feeling.”

The family is now volunteering at the food bank. It is the best way they can imagine repaying the generosity they have experienced.

“When they do food trips and the like, we go and load things up and help out when we can,” said Jeremiah.

“Without her, we just couldn’t have made any part of our lives,” added Jessica.

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