For Others in Action: India’s StoryJordan
Starting as a celebration in the 1920s, Black History Month inspires countless communities to recognize the contributions that people of African descent have made throughout American and world history. As Black History Month comes to a close, For Others wants to celebrate the story of victory brought to us by one of our own, a vibrant mother of two, India. Her contagious smile would never suggest that until recently, India faced losing her children to the foster care system.
Emergency at 30,000 Feet
In August 2022, India, a servicewoman in the Tennessee Air National Guard, was called up to attend a two-week training in Alaska. Per orders, India boarded a plane to attend when she suddenly experienced a severe health crisis. Blood clots formed in her lungs during the flight. Terrified and trapped in an airplane, her oxygen intake was reduced to just 50%. She was immediately hospitalized upon landing.
Separated from her kids, India spent weeks in the hospital receiving treatment. She finally returned home only to encounter more complications.
“I was struggling [financially] before then,” India says, “but that severely impacted me because it took me off my civilian job.”
Because of the new physical limits her condition created, she was unable to remain at her place of employment. The US Department of Veterans Affairs would normally have been able to step in to offer assistance. Due to unforeseen delays, however, relief was unavailable. India faced taking care of two children on her own without support and while short one income.
Because of her limited resources, the electricity to their home was disconnected. Finance companies were blowing up her phone, and her car was under threat of repossession. Let down by the system, India recalls feeling drained from her ongoing illness and terrified over an uncertain future.
India tried to limit the stress on her kids. Her son and daughter knew something was going on, but they didn’t know what. Seeing their mother’s tears and vulnerability sparked worry in their own hearts. Still, both kids were loving and supportive, and India tried to make their circumstances lighthearted. When the electricity went out, she brought her kids to a hotel for a “staycation”.
Despite the challenges, India kept her faith and her hope alive. She credits God with allowing her to continue holding on.
“I know that God had a plan,” she says, “and he has a plan,”
For Others Meets India
Throughout all her hardship and struggle, India stayed dedicated to volunteering in her community, bringing her children along with her. She never lost the desire to help those around her, even when she needed help. Because of her compassion, her story took a turn for the better.
India was working at a volunteer opportunity with her daughter when she met Adam Weis, a pastor and staff member at one of For Others’ Pillar Partners, CarePortal. The two of them got to know each other throughout the day. India learned more about CarePortal’s work to connect immediate, local needs to churches and organizations that could provide relief on short notice. Though she felt embarrassed to confide in someone she just met, India found the courage to ask for help.
The request was urgent. India’s car was still under threat of repossession, and her family couldn’t afford to lose their only means of transportation. Once India explained to Weis what was going on, he escalated her case to For Others in the hopes of receiving aid as soon as possible.
Instantly, India received the urgent assistance she needed. For Others returned the call within minutes and was able to cover it all. But the relationship between For Others, CarePortal, and India’s family didn’t stop there. Later, India and her two kids met the staff at For Others and spend time together celebrating the outcome of all that had happened. It was more than just a transactional relationship.
“Sometimes when receiving help from other organizations, you as the recipient of the assistance don’t get to make an actual connection with everyone that took part in helping to meet your needs,” she says.
Recently, the VA finally came through with support for India, and she now finds herself able to give back to others not just as a volunteer but as a donor. Inspired by her own experience, India will be making a donation to For Others so another person can receive the assistance they need.
“I’m so happy to be a part of the For Others family.”