This wasn't supposed to be how life would go. Meredith Demaree expected to marry her sailor beau, have the typical family, and live happily ever after.
But life happened, as it does for so many. Meredith found herself back in her hometown as a single mom looking for a job to support her and her two young children.
As a graduate of Muncie Central High School and the recipient of a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University, Meredith was more than qualified for jobs in the area. Still, hardship ensued.
"It took me four months to find a job," said Meredith, who worked her way up to the role of Practice Manager at Southway Urgent Care, a clinic of Open Door Health Services. "ALICE was me."
ALICE—Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed—represents the growing number of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford their basic needs of housing, food, childcare, healthcare, and transportation.
"Three and a half years ago, I had no idea how I was going to do this on my own without the dual income of a traditional family," Meredith said. "Absolutely, ALICE was me."
United Way of Delaware County and its funded partners were there to help as they provided a lifeline for Meredith and her family.
Meredith's first priority was seeking quality childcare for her two young children. She received financial assistance to send her children to Apple Tree Child Development Center, a United Way partner.
"United Way's contribution helped my children go to Apple Tree," said Meredith. "I knew my children were getting the skills necessary to build a foundation for their success."
For Meredith and her two children, Apple Tree provides more than a service. It's a support group and a family.
Meredith and her family are an essential piece in the fabric of our community. Her family faced the same struggles that countless other working families are facing today. These hardworking individuals represent nearly one in four people in Indiana—and nearly half of the households in Delaware County.
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