Amy Weaver never thought she would need to be on food stamps.
Weaver, a 41-year-old single mother of three teenagers, has a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in human resources. She had moved to Georgia from Kansas City, Missouri, last November to take a new job in Atlanta as a human resources manager. Weaver researched the best counties for schools and property values and landed on Forsyth County, where the housing market is the most expensive in Georgia. The New Jersey native planned to rent for a year then settle down with her 19-, 14- and 13-year-old kids.
Not long after moving, complications arose. First, a friend of Weaver’s who struggled with addiction asked Weaver to take in her 17-, 16- and 15-year-old children. Second, Weaver got an infection. It happened at a nail salon, she said (for which she’s taking legal action.) Weaver spent two weeks in the hospital. When she got out, Weaver still couldn’t return to work for another three weeks.
In February, she was fired from her new job.
“I’m a single mom,” Weaver said. “There’s no back-up.”
According to a 2017 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 in 8 Americans lack the financial resources to provide adequate food for their household, and Weaver suddenly found herself among them.
But Weaver had to provide for her family. She applied for food stamps, though it took several months to process her application. She found a delivery job making $8 per delivery, she said.
“Here I am with all my degrees, driving my car and making 8 bucks per delivery,” Weaver said. “Like, are you serious? This is what I’m doing? But children have to eat and bills have to get paid regardless, right?”
While Weaver waited for her food stamps application to go through, she found The Place of Forsyth. The local nonprofit organization provides food assistance to 600 households per month at its facility off Antioch Road. It also has a mobile food pantry that serves various locations on the weekend.
Weaver went once a week and got an array of food based on the size of her household: fresh produce, meat, bread, dairy products, boxed and canned goods, even ice cream.
“I was like, ‘Thank God,’” Weaver said.
Weaver’s food stamps application eventually went through, but The Place helped Weaver in other ways. When she was short $700 for rent one month after her savings ran out, The Place paid it. The nonprofit also helped Weaver find a new job. She found another position in human resources, which she started in June.
“[The Place] was very helpful at the time when I needed it,” Weaver said. “I obviously wish I never needed it, but I did.”
Things have steadily improved for Weaver. The new job came just in time to pay for her kids’ back-to-school supplies. A few more paychecks and she’ll have some disposable income again, she said.
“Nobody knows where anybody else is at in their life or what’s going on,” Weaver said. “I am one paycheck away from having that type of issue at all times. Most Americans cannot miss one paycheck without being in trouble. So that’s just where we’re at.”