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Melissa and her husband separated when she was pregnant with their second child, and since then she’s been raising her daughters (now four and five years old) on her own. She moved in with her grandmother to build a sense of extended family for the girls, and they now live in the same Oakland apartment where Melissa grew up. She’s studying nursing at Laney and Merritt Colleges, and eventually plans to become a labor and delivery nurse.

Money was tight for Melissa even before Coronavirus. She’d been working as a server at two restaurants to support her family and cover basic necessities. Things only got harder once Covid-19 shut down restaurants and schools. The money she’d been saving for her daughter to start kindergarten at Oakland Hebrew Day School this fall went to cover immediate living expenses, like rent and food. And since Melissa didn’t have a car, she and the girls had to take the bus to go to the grocery store or park.

“The loan was incredibly helpful to our family. Being a single mom and trying to do everything on my own, it meant so much to me to feel supported in this way by my Jewish community. I don’t feel nearly as alone as I did before. Thank you!”

It’s been challenging to keep life normal for her daughters and give them a healthy, happy summer. Melissa was much relieved to get an interest-free Covid relief loan from Hebrew Free Loan, which allowed her to pay her rent until September, when she hopes to go back to work. She also got an inexpensive secondhand car for the family, along with new child safety seats to replace the ones her daughters had outgrown. Melissa can now take them to the beach and other open spaces to play, which goes a long way toward making this a happy, joyful time for the girls, not shadowed by fear or deprivation.

Melissa is determined to send her daughters to Oakland Hebrew Day School, where she went as a child. She wants them to get a quality education in a nurturing Jewish community, and she’s prepared to make whatever sacrifices are necessary for them to have that experience. Our loan is helping to make that possible.