Danielle is a mother with three sons ages 9, 14 and 15. One morning as she and her family were getting ready for school and work, Danielle and her children experienced a tragic and life altering event. Danielle’s husband collapsed and died. She not only had to deal with the pain of losing her husband, but also with the reality of having to raise three boys on her own. When the Community Action Commission of Belmont County heard about her story, they reached out to Danielle to her to tell her about the John C. and Margareta Diest Kelsey Memorial Fund Program.

The fund was established in 1995 to provide monetary assistance to widows with dependent children living in Belmont County, Ohio. Mr. Kelsey was a native of Belmont County and was orphaned as a young child. He became a successful businessman who wished to establish a legacy to give back to the community in which he grew up.  Working with the Columbus Foundation, the manager of the fund, the Community Action Commission began to administer the program at the local level. Qualifying families receive a monthly stipend to be used at the discretion of the family.

Danielle qualified for the program and enrolled December 11, 2012. During the enrollment and eligibility process, Danielle expressed a desire to buy a house for herself and her children. At the time of her husband’s death they were renting a home. Her reasons for wanting to establish a new home were twofold. Along with the desire to provide the stability for her family that home ownership provides, her children wanted to leave the house where they had experienced such heartache. With some guidance from the Community Action Commission’s Housing Office, Danielle was able to purchase a home. She has reported that the monthly stipends from the Kelsey program have enabled her to pay for the necessities of food, clothing and shelter.
 
Now more than a year after enrolling in the Kelsey program, Danielle has been able to stabilize her family and concentrate her energy and efforts on the hard work of being a single mother.

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.

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