Your Support Saved Acedro’s Life
Acedro could feel his heart rate finally starting to come down. Through his phone’s speaker, the social worker from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center was acting as a translator with him and the county sheriff. The officer explained to Acedro that an ambulance was coming to take him somewhere so he could get help. The social worker also told him that the Center would be there with him through the entire process. Despite the events of the past few hours, the words of the social worker were a welcome change from the severe trauma that he had experienced over the last few months.
Acedro had been living in America for almost two years making the life that he always wanted. He had left Central America and came to Columbus to settle, find a job and eventually bring the rest of his family here to live with him. He knew people who had come here and they had told him about the jobs he could find with his specific skills. They also told him about the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center and how it offers help with food and services that specifically cater to Hispanic immigrants.
So, when he arrived in Columbus, he reached out to the Center. He met with the Center’s social worker who first gave him food and showed him all of the other resources that they offer, including legal services, mental health counseling, and more. For a few months, Acedro would return to the Center for food but, eventually, he found a job and saved up enough money to find an apartment.
Soon, Acedro was 100% independent, paying his bills and saving money. He even bought a car and was thrilled that he would no longer need to rely on public transportation. This self-sufficiency carried on for almost a year until his life, as well as the lives of thousands of Latino immigrants in central Ohio, were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered that all non-essential businesses be closed to stop the COVID-19 spread. There had now been documented cases in Ohio, and state leadership new that the virus could spread rapidly without proper action. This move put thousands of people out of work, including Acedro. And like thousands of others, Acedro fell into that group that did not qualify for unemployment benefits.
Acedro first tried to ride everything out; he lived off of his savings and was able to get by for almost two months. Soon, he found himself cutting certain things out of his budget, including specific foods. As his diet became unhealthier, he found that it added to his rapidly increasing depression. Plus, the stress of trying to find a job became more and more difficult, and his judgment was being clouded due to his depression and unhealthy habits. He was behind on his rent, and then one day he received a phone call explaining that his vehicle was about to be repossessed.
This was the final straw that sent Acedro spiraling. He had no idea whom to call or where to go. He didn’t have enough money to return to his country, and he knew his family there could not afford to bring him back. He couldn’t stand the thought of being homeless and instead decided that he would be better off dead. So, he stepped into his car and started to drive even though he had no idea where he was going.
Suddenly and divinely, the name of someone he could call popped into his head. He remembered the social worker at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center telling him to reach out if he ever needed help, no matter what the situation was. Desperate, he searched through his phone, found the number and called hoping that someone could do something for him.
When the social worker answered his call, they immediately started to talk through things. Acedro mentioned that he wanted to hurt himself, and the social worker kept him calm and on the phone. After discovering where Acedro was, the information was relayed to the Center Director who called the police and directed them to Acedro’s location. After the officer arrived and the social worker helped translate for Acedro, he was taken to a local hospital and given the care that he needed. When he was released, he worked with the social worker to figure out what steps needed to be taken to make sure this didn’t happen again.
The social worker immediately helped Acedro with emergency financial assistance so he would not lose his home or car. Then, they set him up for regular food pickups from the pantry so he could still eat and maintain his mental composure. They also referred him to an outside provider who offered bi-lingual mental health services to aid him in his struggles.
Acedro’s job recently reopened, but with limited hours and staffing. He’s only working part-time but is still receiving assistance from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center to make ends meet. He still meets with his counselor regularly and has learned various coping mechanisms to deal with his depression.
Acedro looks forward to when he can start saving money again and, hopefully, bring his family to America.