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Caryl and Hal Brandes have faced their share of financial troubles over the past few decades. They lost everything in the 2008 recession, when Caryl’s work in real estate and Hal’s business redesigning homes dried up at the same time. So when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, they had no reserves to fall back on.

“Hebrew Free Loan saved our lives. Once we were approved for our loan, we started waking up in the morning again with a new sense of hope and purpose.”

Caryl and Hal have had a lifelong love affair with art and product design. Like most artists, they’ve done a lot of different things to make a living over the years. Hal studied photography and design at Pratt Institute in New York, and he’s worked as a fine art and commercial photographer ever since. The couple ran a successful business designing photo albums and stationery for high-end department stores and specialty shops, but shuttered that operation when the retail landscape changed.

Now in their 70s, Caryl and Hal operate several online businesses that showcase their art and design skills. Hal displays and sells his photography and cards on several internet sites. They’ve recently launched a new venture, Caryl B, that offers artisanal soaps, healing hand creams, and therapeutic bath salts made from naturally derived products.

To make ends meet, they also depend on side jobs to supplement their limited Social Security. Before Covid closed schools and retail establishments, Hal was working with a local school district to hire and supervise crossing guards. Caryl was demonstrating Miele vacuum cleaners and other products at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

But the pandemic put those jobs on hold, and the extra income they were counting on vanished overnight. Caryl and Hal panicked about how they were going to pay their rent and other obligations. That’s when their daughter urged them to contact Hebrew Free Loan.

The interest-free Coronavirus Impact loan that Caryl and Hal received eased their worries and helped them cover their living expenses while they were unemployed. They’re both now back at the jobs they held before the pandemic, continuing to build their online businesses, and feeling optimistic about the future!