She looked at those hungry kids, and she saw Caitlyn’s bewilderment
Caitlyn grew up in a first-class lifestyle that included world travel, private schools and plenty of
household help. She got married to a man from a similar background. They moved into a multi-million
dollar mansion and had three children. Like her mother before her, Caitlyn hired a live-in nanny, Mira, to
care for their children. Caitlyn relied on Mira to do just about everything for the family: shop, cook and
clean, as well as bathe, feed and care for her three young children.
Then, in September 2008, the wheels came off for Caitlyn’s family in a way she never expected. As our
country’s financial fabric started to tear, the family’s home went into foreclosure. Caitlyn’s husband’s
gambling debts started to surface, and he began self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to dull the pain
of financial strain and to soothe injuries from a serious car wreck. Finally, he simply disappeared from
the family. With four months to go before Caitlyn and her kids were to be displaced from the house, her
husband was gone and Caitlyn could no longer afford to pay Mira.
Before leaving for another live-in nanny job, Mira looked in the refrigerator — empty, except for some
corn dogs and a few cans of soda— she looked at those hungry kids, and she saw Caitlyn’s bewilderment
and desperation. So she stayed with the family and exhausted the small savings that she had scraped
together from her previous child care and house cleaning jobs to make sure that there was always
healthy food in the refrigerator for Caitlyn’s children until other accommodations could be made.
At their toughest moments, Caitlyn also received food from one of Westside Food Bank’s member food
pantries. The pantry referred Caitlyn to sign up for much-need parenting classes. Eventually, Caitlyn and
the kids were able to squeeze into the apartment of a relative who could provide enough child care to
allow Caitlyn to work part-time as a hairdresser. The children’s father reappeared after completing a six-
month transitional living program for substance abuse, and, at last report, is clean and sober, and
working in construction. With both parents working again and a roof over their heads, the family was
able to save some money and are no longer in need of the food pantry – but Caitlyn will never forget
that even those in the seemingly best circumstances can end up in need of a little bit of help.