At age 15, Daniela left her life in Yucatan, Mexico, full of hopes and dreams for a better life in the United States. Daniela moved in with her sister and enrolled in high school. She found a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant, worked to learn English, and eventually met her boyfriend. When Daniela discovered she was pregnant, she dropped out of school when her son was born and set her dreams aside.

The young couple married, but money was tight and food scarce. Their financial situation grew more precarious after the birth of their daughter. Soon after, Daniela's husband began to attack her physically.

With her sister's encouragement, Daniela found the courage to leave the abusive marriage. She moved into Genesis Women's Shelter, where she received counseling. Her case manager also guided her through the immigration process, and she obtained her green card.

"My sister still watches out for me, and the counselors at Genesis Shelter helped me," said Daniela. "It was hard to leave my marriage and be alone at the shelter, with no job and two kids. I knew it wouldn't be easy to be a single mom, but I wanted to support my children and give them a safe home. Thankfully, God gave me the strength I needed."

Soon, Daniela moved into an apartment and got a job. She did not have extra money for clothes and food, so she relied on her sister's help and food pantries and was grateful for this needed help. 

Daniela remarried, this time to a kind man who works hard to support their family. Their life was on track. She worked at several part-time jobs until the Covid-19 lockdown began. Like many, she lost her job and any hope of financial stability.


A local company responded by creating Get Shift Done, which creates paid opportunities for unemployed service workers to help local non-profits provide hunger relief. The program paired Daniela with the CitySquare Food Pantry. In addition to providing much-needed income, the opportunity helped Daniela find new happiness.

"I keep signing up for shifts because everyone is so nice. It's a positive environment and doesn't feel like work," Daniela says.


When needed, Daniela also knows she can take home healthy groceries. More than a year into the pandemic, she's looking forward to a new future.


"I know what it is to need help and have to ask for help," said Daniela. "I learned you can still help those in need, even when you don't have much."

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