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Roland Landry, of Ragley, Louisiana, thought he had everything under control for his family. A hard-worker, a technical college student and planning for future success, he thought the realities of COVID-19 would stay far away.
While he first learned of 211 and the United Way of Southwest Louisiana a mere few days before coronavirus manifested in Southwest Louisiana, he tucked the information away saying, "It was something I thought maybe I could control as head of the household."
Like many people however, the global pandemic quickly became a local reality as classes ended and both he and his wife were without a job. "I found out real quick this wasn't something I could control."
Roland had quit his job for what he thought would be only eight weeks in order to enroll in SOWELA Technical Community College's pipefitting apprenticeship program. His lack of income combined with his wife's lost wages as a waitress left the family with a stark outlook.
"We were questioning as a family, 'How are we supposed to pay these bills?'"
Roland reached out to his college instructor who referred him again to the United Way of Southwest Louisiana especially in light of the non-profit's new Coronavirus Response Fund. "It was honestly a first for me," Roland said describing his hesitation to call 211. "But my wife and I, we really thought and prayed about it and decided to send it all in."
In a matter of days, the family learned that United Way had funds available immediately to meet their needs including rent, car insurance and utilities for a month. Amanda Landry, Roland's wife, said she truly believes the connection was divine.
"I'm a firm believer. I think it's all God," she said.
Roland agreed, calling the assistance "a huge blessing" especially in light of all of the questions regarding stimulus checks from the government. "Who's going to get it? When are you going to get it? How much are you going to get? No one knows."
Roland added that the Coronavirus Response Fund is helping his family be one less statistic in the world's current uncertain economy. "There's a lot of people that can not pay their bills and they have to submit themselves to their landlords or whatever," he said. "I'm very thankful that the United Way put my family to the side of that and was able to shield and assist us in this way."
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