Dallas foundation offers help, hope to single moms




Posted on November 29, 2010 at 2:17 AM

DALLAS — Experts say the recession is over. Still, thousands of North Texans face economic struggles every day.

It's particularly true for women who are the head of their household; one-third live below the poverty level.

But one local agency is helping those women find the resources they need.

Amber Hedgepath, like a half-million other single mothers in North Texas, struggles every day to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck.

"Things have skyrocketed — from public transportation, the gas, the insurance, medicines," she said.

Things got even worse when Hedgepath's employer cut back on her hours, and the Pleasant Grove mom soon found herself facing eviction.

That's when she turned to the Wilkinson Center for help.

"They helped not only with helping me financially for my rent, they also gave me voice to where it is okay to ask for the help — it's okay to ask for a lending hand," Hedgepath said.

The Wilkinson Center is one of hundreds of non-profit agencies that receive funds from the Dallas Women's Foundation, a grant-making organization that has been helping North Texas women in need for 25 years.

"It is never a good time to be a single mother, especially in Texas," said Becky Sykes, president and CEO of the foundation. "But right now it is especially hard because so many of these women are already living at the poverty level. They are just on the edge, and one job loss, or one sick child, or one health care emergency can throw them into unemployment."

One in five single female head-of-households live below the poverty line in North Texas, with incomes at or below $28,000 a year.

With a financial burden lifted, Hedgepath has less stress, and more time to enjoy the things that count most in life.

"When you see the kids smile, it allows you to smile, knowing that it's going to end, there are resources out there, there are people out there that care," she said.

The Dallas Women's Foundation has granted more than $13 million to more than 900 area non-profit agencies that help women in need.

E-mail tfoster@wfaa.com