An Action Pathways Success: Mona

Mona Hyppolite serves as the Reclamation Coordinator for Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina (SHFB). She’s a pleasant, optimistic woman who enjoys being a part of SHFB because she knows she is contributing to the fight of reducing food insecurity and hunger.

“I have the opportunity to be here every day - to help distribute food knowing that a box [that I touched] is going to a community in need [and] to a child in need so they may eat.”Mona explains.2L0A6855.JPG

Second Harvest Food Bank’s seven-county service area (Bladen, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, Robeson and Sampson Counties) enables Mona to feel as though she is a part of something much bigger than herself. She says that her spirit of giving manifested itself many years ago as she faced her own hardships and began to understand the power of grace, altruism and giving back. Like many of us, it was through her valleys that she discovered herself, her inner strength and better still, her purpose in life.“Coming from a place of being in need, not being able to eat, not being able to provide [for my children],I thank God for an organization like Action Pathways and its Second Harvest Food Bank that works to address all the issues surrounding a person’s battle with poverty, including food insecurity and hunger.”

Mona has worked for Action Pathways Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina (SHFB) for a little over a year. But her journey to SHFB was anything but easy. When Mona moved herself, and her two children, from New York several years ago, she learned how much of a struggle it was to grow accustomed to living in the South.

“It was hard,” she remembe2L0A6576.JPGrs. “I was so used to commuting on public transportation. I quickly realized without a vehicle, it was hard to establish job security here.”

From the onset of her arrival, Mona wrestled with finding employment that she could maintain while utilizing Fayetteville’s Area System of Transit (or FAST) that would, at the same time, accommodate her needs as a single parent. She found a few jobs - working odds and ends -  but was never able to fully attain job security. Her obligations as a single parent without a vehicle left her vulnerable and always standing on uncertain terms with employers. One day, however, Mona decided she would seek a path out of her predicament that would guide her to both a job and financial  stability.

The only path towards job security and hopefully, full-time employment it seemed, would be to provide her own source of transportation. Living in New York, she never really had to learn to drive, let alone, purchase a vehicle. Big cities, such as New York City have extensive, reliable public transportation that Mona described as “the best way to commute.” However, her move to North Carolina posed an unfamiliar challenge in learning to drive. On her search for resources that would help her learn to operate a vehicle, and subsequently, purchase one of her own, Mona stumbled across another Action Pathways program – the ASPIRE program. It was then Mona first became exposed to Action Pathways and its mission of fighting poverty and its impacts on individuals,as well as, families combatting poverty’s seemingly endless cycle.

ASPIRE, a program funded through CSBG (Community Services Block Grant) funds, is designed to assist individuals, as well as families, attain the knowledge and skills needed to rise above their circumstances. Soon after discovering the program, Mona quickly enrolled, working with a case manager to create a plan-of-action that would help Mona learn how to drive.

Thanks to ASPIRE, Mona was able to take driving courses and also receive assistance with studying for the written portion of North Carolina’s road test. She eventually earned her driver’s license and was well on her way to successfully obtaining employment.DSC_0023.JPG

Overjoyed, that she had accomplished her goal, Mona knew she wanted to share her happiness by giving back and felt it was important to be in a position where she could assist others in moving forward. As a result, she began volunteering for Second Harvest Food Bank working to reclaim food, stock shelves and prepare items for distribution. Several months later, she began inquiring about a job, realizing she had found her “home away from home.” Shortly thereafter, Mona was hired as the Reclamation Coordinator, and to date, she has been working for Action Pathways SHFB for a little more than a year.

Mona now has a full-time job with the flexibility to keep her commitments to her children, a car of her own, health benefits and the pleasure of knowing she is helping a family fight hunger and food insecurity.

 

“Mona is a prime example of Action Pathways’ commitment to improving the lives of residents of Cumberland and surrounding counties,” said Cynthia Wilson, Action Pathways’ Chief Executive Officer. “Her success story is just one of the many success stories Action Pathways sees on a daily basis. We are dedicated to helping individuals and families find their own pathway to a brighter and more prosperous future, one they can sustain for years to come.”

 

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