Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, Cesin speaks to Lane over the phone.

*For privacy concerns, names were changed in this story.

Eviction is a reality that far too many families face when they struggle to pay their bills each month. This is the situation that Diane Lane found herself in before coming to the Durham Community Food Pantry, a program of Catholic Charities. After suffering job related injuries, Lane’s monthly income dwindled down to only $400 a month. As a result, she was struggling to pay her December rent.

On top of her financial challenges, Lane was also caring for her elderly mother, as her only surviving child. Her mother was in hospice care and hoped to return home one last time to spend Christmas with her daughter. The threat of eviction, however, meant that her mother’s wish might not be possible.

That is when Lane approached the Durham Community Food Pantry for help and connected with Elena Cesin, a family case manager.

“Despite experiencing both economic and familial turmoil, I was pleasantly surprised by Ms. Lane’s positive attitude and strong faith.” Cesin shared.

Cesin spoke with Lane and learned about the challenges she was facing. After hearing her story, Cesin identified Lane as a candidate to receive assistance through the “Love Fund”.

The “Love Fund” is a source of financial assistance established by Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham. Throughout the year, parishioners contribute to the “Love Fund” to help families in Durham who are facing significant financial challenges in their lives. Last year, approximately 12 families were assisted through this partnership between Catholic Charities and the Immaculate Conception “Love Fund”.

For Lane, this once in a lifetime assistance helped her to pay her rent in full, preventing eviction.

“Upon getting the privilege of informing Ms. Lane about her Love Fund request being approved, Ms. Lane sent me an email stating how overjoyed and grateful she was.” shared Cesin.

In addition to receiving rental assistance, Lane also received a week’s worth of groceries and some holiday items from the food pantry for her and her mother to enjoy. Through this challenging time, the Durham Community Food Pantry not only provided help to Lane through food and financial assistance, but also provided hope through the emotional support provided by Cesin.

Financial assistance through Catholic Charities helped Lane bridge the gap while she struggled with finances. Since receiving assistance, she began working more hours at her place of employment and has caught up with her bills. She now finds herself in a much more stable manner. For Lane, the new year has brought her a new outlook on life and new opportunities.