Eternally Grateful: Daiana’s Story

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Daiana entered our program as a single mother of three, having rented the same apartment for four years. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, her landlord began continuously raising her rent. Simultaneously, Daiana was furloughed from her job. The landlord suggested seeking assistance from ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program), but when Daiana secured a new job, the rent was raised once again, making it challenging for her to catch up.

Despite appearing financially stable on paper, Daiana struggled with the reality of making ends meet for her family on a single income. She recounted the difficulty of trying to balance expenses such as rent, daycare, and insurance, emphasizing the challenge of earning just enough to disqualify from certain benefits. “I made too much to receive certain benefits, and not enough to fully make ends meet on my own.”

As she struggled to navigate this financial maze, Daiana faced another grim situation. ERAP funds were exhausted, and an eviction notice loomed. Juggling these stresses while maintaining a facade of stability for her children became mentally taxing.

“That took the biggest toll on my mental health because I’m saying to my kids, ‘Oh we’re fine!’ but in the back of my head, I’m thinking, we’re going to be sleeping in the car if I can’t find anywhere to go.”

With the clock ticking and uncertainty about where she and her three children would go, Daiana reached out to Good Sam.

Good Sam stepped in to bridge her financial gap, assisting Daiana with the deposit for new housing. Ongoing case management and support ensured that she didn’t deplete all her resources on rent and bills, leaving nothing for her children’s needs. Going through her budget with guidance helped Daiana gain clarity, and the emotional support she received was invaluable.

Reflecting on her journey, Daiana shared, “I have always been driven to figure things out in life. But before Good Sam, I wasn’t sleeping, I started taking medication for anxiety because my mind was always awake trying to figure out solutions and I just couldn’t. So, when I came here for help, I was broken because it was the first time I wasn’t able to figure it out on my own.”

Opening up about her struggles was a cathartic release, and she acknowledged the importance of having a safe space at Good Sam to share her vulnerabilities. Daiana’s initial facade of strength crumbled during the intake process. “I was crying throughout my whole intake because you think you’re strong, then you start talking about your situation, and you just can’t stop crying.”

Breaking down those emotional barriers helped Daiana to rebuild herself. She has since stopped taking anxiety medication and even rekindled her passion for catering food, thanks to her newfound stability. In addition to her full-time job, Daiana has been breathing new life into her own catering business, Casa de Sabores. Serving up authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, Daiana looks forward to further cultivating and expanding her business. You can try Daiana’s food at our spring fundraising event, Ephrata Eats on Tuesday, March 12!

Daiana’s gratitude extends to the supporters of Good Sam, “I appreciate that there are still kind people in the world that are able to look beyond themselves and say, ‘There’s a community out here that needs help.’ It’s not taken lightly or for granted. I’m eternally grateful for that support.” Daiana’s story highlights the immense impact of compassion, the heartbeat of our mission at Good Sam.

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