Refrigerator for Nora
In the past, Nora, 41, worked as a cook at a daycare, but she left that job two years ago in order to take care of her four children full time. The children’s father pays no child support, and Nora gets no help from her family – the entire burden has fallen on her. Three of the four children have severe disabilities – the 15-year-old has debilitating diabetes, many sensitivities and mood swings; the 12-year-old is extremely hyperactive, with ADHD; the six-year-old is autistic. The family lives in a tiny apartment. Nora sleeps on the living room couch in order to give the kids a bedroom, even though she can barely afford beds for them. Nora’s only income now is the government disability stipends for the children. These are designed to go towards their specific care, not to support a family of five. Nora, however, has no choice. She manages their finances wisely and tries to maintain some quality of life for them all, but sometimes she cannot even afford food. Nora is reliant on an erratic, rusty refrigerator that a neighbor has lent her. It cannot keep food for more than a few days, so Nora purchases small amounts as frequently as she can. The technician who checked the fridge told her that it cannot be fixed and advised her to buy a new one, but this is well beyond Nora’s budget.