Barb Sheraski and her family are tired. Tired of worrying about how each and every dollar is spent. Tired of feeling guilty for accepting free food and clothing. Tired of repeatedly failing to free themselves from the ranks of working poor residents.
“Living like this is very tricky, very hard,” said Barb of her family’s day-to-day challenges as each new day brings tradeoffs. “Should we buy meat this week or school supplies? We take risks. It’s like we’re always jumping off a cliff.”
In quiet desperation, Sheraski, her fiance, Ryan Eldred, and their three children wage a personal war on poverty. Their fight has included hunger, homelessness, job insecurity and health problems. Two steps backward meet each step forward.
“We have a whole reality show of our own,” said Alex, 16, the oldest child. “But it’s not entertaining if you’re participating in it.”
While struggling, however, the family stays optimistic.
They’ve come to know a communitywide network of unsung heroes who work diligently to help people like them each day. They have been humbled by generosity. They take nothing for granted. And they look forward.
Barb and Ryan share a dream that their children become educated enough to escape poverty.
“My mom was dirt poor and I’m dirt poor, too,” Barb said. “I don’t want that legacy for them.”
But as she and her family dream, they deal with an ugly reality.
“I’m so tired,” she said, “of being poor.”