GEORGIA – Billy and Tina have come to expect the unexpected, for better or worse. About ten years ago, Tina was working as a teacher and Billy as an HVAC technician when Billy’s brother, David, was involved in a head-on collision. David needed around-the-clock care, and Billy and Tina stepped up to help.
Tina left her teaching position to care for David, meaning her family went from two incomes to one. David’s medical bills, along with daily necessities for the family, became more than they could afford on their own.
“There were many times that I had a hard time figuring out how we were going to get by,” Tina said. “How was I going to buy food? How was I going to pay the bills? How was I going to get David the medicine he needed?”
The burden of caring for a disabled family member along with her own family was a heavy weight. Tina began looking into local organizations that might be able to help. A friend referred her to United Food Force, an Operation Blessing hunger relief partner that works to provide healthy food and resources to those in need via partnerships with other organizations.
Tina began receiving food and other necessities from United Food Force, alleviating the concern of where her family’s next meal would come from. Around the same time, David’s health declined and he passed away. Yet, the burden to care for the helpless remained with Tina.
During their period of need, Tina and Billy received so much food that Tina began handing out their surplus to people in her community. After David’s passing, Tina realized she had developed a passion for caregiving, which she believes is what she was meant to do all along. She had tried during David’s illness to generate additional income, but she says every time she tried, nothing panned out.
“I feel like God led me to caregiving,” she said. “I feel that every time I tried to do something different, God was telling me ‘you need to go out and you need to help other people, this is what you’re supposed to do’.”
Tina is grateful for Operation Blessing and its partner, United Food Force. Every donation is helpful, she said, because even just a small amount can make a difference for families that struggle to make ends meet.
Tina and Billy have turned their loss into an avenue to help others. They pack to-go meals for homeless people in their community, and they give away food and resources to single moms, hoping that their pay-it-forward attitude will help others as they were helped in their time of need. “We’re able to do that because of everything we get through United Food Force and Operation Blessing.”