CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A young Charlotte woman has taken more than her fair share of hits during the COVID-19 pandemic. She lost her job, was in danger of losing her home and was counting on the stimulus check but couldn’t access it. She came to WCNC Charlotte for help, and what we found was an even bigger story of resilience than we could have anticipated.
Life has been a constant struggle for 26-year-old Teasha Hemingway.
"It just seemed like everything was going bad," Hemingway said.
She lost her job not long after the start of the pandemic and almost lost her house and car when she couldn’t pay her bills.
"It has been extremely hard," Hemingway said. "I will not lie. COVID has been hard for all of us."
While 2020 was hard for her, most of her life has been challenging.
"I was in the foster care system," Hemingway shared. "I put myself in at 12."
Teasha's mom died when she was just seven, and she said that sent her dad into a tailspin.
"I spent a lot of time taking care of myself, making my meals," Hemingway recalled. "I got the money and went to the grocery store."
At 12, after constant visits from the Department of Social Services, she finally chose to enter the foster care system.
"I didn’t have to look over my shoulder and worry where my next meal was going to come from," Hemingway explained. "I didn’t always like foster families, but I was never in danger, and that’s what mattered the most."
At 19, she landed a coveted spot at Florence Crittenton Services – a nonprofit that helps foster kids learn the life skills they’ll need when they’re on their own at 21.
She found work, was taking classes for her bachelor's degree and was doing OK over the last few years until her full-time job at Central Piedmont Community College was eliminated after the start of the pandemic.
"I don’t know how I maintained," Hemingway said. "I just pushed through. I just say 'It's gonna get better,' and it normally does. I’ve learned to be patient."
She found a new job at, of all places, Florence Crittenton Services.
The only problem was it was part time which was not enough to cover all of her bills. She was counting on the stimulus check to help her pay her rent. She reached out to us for help when things went wrong.
"It got deposited to the wrong account, and we had to do some background research, and then, boom, all of a sudden I had the stimulus check," Hemingway said.
WCNC Charlotte teamed her up with Goodwill and another Charlotte nonprofit Good Friends to help her find a second job, and she got help paying her power bill from the Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program.
"If there’s anything that describes me, it’s that I’m very resilient," Hemingway said. "I may get down. I may get upset. It may seem like the end of the world, but when I get back up, I am back up, and that’s my favorite thing about myself."
Also, WCNC Charlotte is happy to report Hemingway has been promoted at Florence Crittenton Services where she works directly with young girls who are going through what she went through, but she said she still wants a second job to help pay the bills, so she is on the hunt.
WCNC Charlotte worked with several nonprofits in trying to help Hemingway. Charlotte is home to SHARE Charlotte, which brings together more than 400 nonprofits as a resource to help pair people in need and potential volunteers and donors to the right nonprofit.
If you need or want to help, check out sharecharlotte.org.