There Is No Quarantine From Hunger: Bey Family Story

Nov 20, 2020 | by Stephanie Rex

When Sonja Bey recalls her family’s bare cupboards, empty refrigerator, and hollowed out freezer, she can’t help but break down and cry.

“I cry because The Salvation Army filled them up and made sure we had plenty,” she said.

In the days following the economic shutdown spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonja and her husband, who was immediately laid off, scrambled to downsize their bills and adjust their family budget. With four children at home between the ages of 3 and 12, Sonja and her husband struggled as their financial situation tightened more every day. Her husband, a local boilermaker working at the cracker plant in Beaver County, was laid off and awaiting unemployment benefits. With four children forced to attend school at home, Sonja cut back on her own hours at work to assist in their educations and to fill the need of increased childcare.

“Bills and car payments were hurting us so bad – when you put all of the money you have into bills, at the end of it you think, ‘What do we have left for food?’ I don’t know what we would have done if we had to choose between bills and food.”

As she paid the bills and struggled to grapple with the financial impacts of the pandemic, Sonja finally decided to reach out for help at her church – The Salvation Army Pittsburgh Temple Worship and Service Center. There, she received assistance through The Salvation Army’s emergency food pantry and received Giant Eagle gift cards.

“I am just grateful. Sometimes, I walk around with a smile on my face and you would never know anything is wrong. But I needed this help. I don’t know what we would do without our church. I don’t know where we would be right now. The programs are awesome and without it, we would not have had any food in our home,” Sonja said.

Having the loving support from her Salvation Army family not only allowed Sonja to put food on the table – it also gave her the peace of mind in knowing they would get through this together.

“It helped to calm my fears. The uncertainty of everything – it inspired me to keep having faith that we will get through this ride - even when we did not know where we were riding to,” she said. “As long as we have food for the kids, that is all that matters.”

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