Leap of faith essential to help those in need during holiday season
FLINT, Michigan -- With 10 kids and no vehicle, Latrica Ryan is used to juggling.
Going to a movie or out for dinner is a like plotting a major tactical undertaking. Not that such outings happen that much.
"It would really be nice if I could take my kids where they needed to go, instead of having to find them a ride," Ryan said. "And when we do go somewhere, I have to pay four or five people (for gas) to get us all there.
"I have booster seats and car seats. It's a lot."
Ryan, is a 29-year-old single stay-at-home mother of five sons and five daughters, who range in age from 2 months to 13 years. Transportation isn't the only issue Ryan has to deal with.
The Flint woman said she sometimes needs help providing her children with clothes and food.
"As they get older, it's becoming harder and more expensive to buy them clothes," Ryan said. "I try to keep the older kids looking nice because I don't want them to be teased at school.
"And they don't starve," she said. "But there are times when I start running low on food and I have to call for help."
Ryan may not be able to take her kids on a fancy vacation, but with the help of organizations such as FACED Corporation, she is able to ensure that her kids' basic needs are met.
The Flint-based agency has helped Ryan clothe and feed her children, as well as pay utility bills.
"It started off with diapers and bus passes." Ryan said of her first encounter with FACED 10 years ago. "Now, Retinea (Dye, a maternal and infant health advocate at FACED) will give me a ride to doctors' appointments for my kids. She'll take me to their schools. She's always there when I need her."
FACED is a faith-based community outreach agency that focuses on assisting the low-income. Dye said the agency helps educate mothers on parenting and provides them with things such as maternity clothes, baby clothes, other baby items, counseling and support groups.
Dye said the agency has even helped pay security deposits for housing.
Tough times have brought more people into the agency in search of help.
"We're getting more calls for assistance with utility bills because the price of gas had gone up," Dye said. "We can only (help) so many people, so we're referring them to other agencies."
Dye said FACED has reached its limit of aiding 50 families. The agency is in need of donations to continue assisting families.
"In between (Women, Infant and Children) appointments, moms run out of formula, and they turn to us," Dye said. "Sometimes we have what they need and if we don't, we have to refer them to other agencies."
Even without a car, Ryan manages to stay involved in her children's school life, volunteering and meeting with teachers to check on their progress.
Most of Ryan's 10 children are in school and six are on the honor roll, she said.
"They're good kids," she said.