Life hasn’t been easy for Rimma Sukhorukova since she arrived in the U.S. from Ukraine, but she’s nothing if not resilient … and determined. Rimma lost both her parents before she turned 30, and she accumulated credit card debt while caring for them and covering their funeral expenses. Since then she’s been working hard for a better future, but the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes seemed far away. Receiving an interest-free debt consolidation loan from Hebrew Free Loan was a gamechanger for Rimma.

“Hebrew Free Loan gave me the freedom to start fresh right away, rather than hoping things might get better a decade from now. It’s made a huge difference, financially and emotionally.”

When she was 19, Rimma came to San Francisco to visit her father, who she hadn’t seen since she was 7. They reconnected, after many years in which their only contact was phone calls on her birthday and New Year’s, and he invited her to stay. She got a job at a local Russian store and started studying at City College, and was excited by the prospect of advancing her education. Then her father suffered two strokes, and Rimma left school to tend to him. When he passed away, she had to use her credit cards to pay for his funeral.

Rimma’s mother, who was still in Ukraine, also had a stroke not long after, and soon Rimma was working 12 – 15 hours a day to support herself, pay down her debt, and send money home to her mother. Eventually she went back to Ukraine to care for her mother until she died as well, and once Rimma had finished paying off creditors there, she came back to the Bay Area.

Rimma hoped for opportunity and the chance to continue school, but in the short run she faced more debt and more low-paying retail jobs. At one point she was working days in a Ross department store and nights in a Russian restaurant, and still barely getting by.

Things took a turn for the better when a friend helped Rimma get a job at an Apple Store, and she’s been working her way up the ladder ever since. She’s thrived there and hopes to eventually move into a position with Apple’s corporate side. Once she’s eligible for employee tuition benefits, Rimma also hopes to go back to school and complete her college degree.

It’s hard to live in San Francisco on a retail salary, and the high interest rates on many credit cards can make getting out of debt almost impossible. When friends referred Rimma to Hebrew Free Loan, the prospect of an interest-free debt consolidation loan seemed almost too good to be true. But her loan was approved, and she paid off all her debt in one fell swoop, after chipping away at it for years.

Rimma’s relief was immense, and the financial help was invaluable. She’s equally grateful for the kindness and non-judgmental interactions she experienced with her loan officer, which gave her a new perspective on her situation. She now tells all of her Jewish friends about this resource that has changed her life.

“Before I found Hebrew Free Loan I was drowning in debt and wasn’t able to save a single dollar. 2020 was a hard year for everybody, but I will always remember the help I got from Hebrew Free Loan as a huge positive in my life. I have new hope for the future.”