There’s no big, fancy flat-screen television in Angel Gordon’s home.
She doesn’t spend money each week on getting her hair and nails done.
The furniture is plain. In fact, it’s well-worn.
And there’s no Xbox or other expensive video game console for the kids to play with.
Gordon is a 31-year-old single mother of six trying to make ends meet and sometimes missing the mark.
“It’s stressful, but I have to get it together,” she said. “I don’t want to go into a deep depression.”
She lives in a two-story house on Newburgh Avenue with her children. They are Lania, 11, Martonio, 10, and Miangel Jones, 8, all from a prior relationship. Her 5-year-old daughter, Talina Gordon, has the same father as 4-year-old Nevaeh Willis and 8-month-old Maliyah Willis.
After Maliyah’s birth, Gordon underwent a tubal ligation procedure.
The fathers of her children have not been much help financially. The father of the three oldest works and pays some child support, but he doesn’t earn a lot of money. The father of the three youngest has as many as 10 children, Gordon said, and provides virtually no support either financially or emotionally.
Gordon still holds on to her dream of becoming a nurse. That was her plan when she graduated from Lafayette High School in 2001. She says that when her kids are older, she’ll get back on that path and that mothering her children may give her an advantage.
“I have a lot of experience with all of [the kids],” she said. “I’d like to work in a nursing home.”
To get by, Gordon relies on public assistance and Supplemental Security Income. Nevaeh also receives SSI for speech and behavior issues.
Frequently, there is not enough food to make it to the end of the month, and that’s where the Taste of Faith Food Pantry helps.
The pantry is one of several programs offered by True Bethel Charities, an organization of True Bethel Baptist Church on East Ferry Street. It supplies perishable and nonperishable food to families and individuals requiring assistance. Food deliveries also are available for people unable to leave home.
Located at 594 Winslow Ave., the pantry is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
Betty Jean Quarles, executive director of True Bethel Charities, met Gordon about a year ago when the young mother started coming to the food pantry. “I felt that she needed assistance with the six children,” said Quarles, who is also a retired social worker.
“She’s a very lovely young lady. I was more than happy to reach out to her because that’s what we do,” Quarles said.
True Bethel Charities also provides clothing, shelter and case management services.
At the Clothes Closet, new and slightly used clothing items are collected and distributed to individuals and families free of charge. The clothing is donated by the community and outside agencies. An average of 3,000 people annually have been assisted through this program, according to the church’s website. The Clothes Closet, 275 Kehr St., is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and every third Saturday.
True Bethel Charities also runs the Nehemiah Arms Emergency Housing program, which provides transitional housing for people who are displaced because of a loss of income, sickness or natural disaster.
A case manager is available to assist clients with issues such as counseling, employment training, advocacy, proper placement with various social services agencies and organizations and benefits eligibility. This service is available by appointment by calling 895-7019.
The News Neediest Fund will help make this Christmas a little happier for Gordon’s family and for thousands of other families like them through the generous donations from throughout Western New York.
Cash donations may be mailed to The News Neediest Fund, P.O. Box 2667, Buffalo, NY 14240-9873; donations also can be made to buffalonews.com/newsneediest.