In Search of Care: Laura’s Story
At 70 years old, Laura* relies on Lakeview Pantry to provide her with nutritious fruits, vegetables and meal essentials that she couldn’t otherwise afford.
Though she’s lived in Chicago for decades, Laura’s only family is in her home country of Romania. She works part-time cleaning condo buildings in Lakeview, but her age makes the prospect of full-time work difficult.
So when she recently began experiencing health issues, Laura enrolled in a Medicaid plan that would provide her access to a doctor at no cost to her. But when her information showed up in the mail, it asked her to choose a doctor in rural Southern Illinois.
Confused and desperate, Laura turned to Lakeview Pantry’s social services team for help.
“The Illinois Department of Human Services somehow had Laura as living in a different county,” says Jennie Hull, Lakeview Pantry’s Manager of Client Services. “Laura was extremely upset and worried that she would not be able to get to see her doctor.”
Laura had tears in her eyes when she and Jennie sat down to call the Department of Human Services together. Laura had been trying to call the helpline on her own, but due to her hearing difficulties and limited English skills, she was unable to properly communicate what she needed.
After 45 minutes on hold, Jennie and Laura got through to someone who could correct the error, and Laura could choose a doctor close to home.
“Laura thanked me over and over again for helping and hugged me,” says Jennie. “I told her it was my job and my pleasure.”
Laura was able to get the help she needed and even discovered her health issues were less serious that she’d initially thought.
“I often wonder how people like Laura who don’t have a place like Lakeview Pantry manage to navigate problems with their benefits,” says Jennie. “We are always glad when we can help our neighbors access the resources they so desperately need.”
If you’d like to ensure more people like Laura can continue to get this much needed access to compassionate assistance, consider making a gift to Lakeview Pantry.
*Client’s name changed to protect their privacy.