When we got married we didn’t have much money. I could get four meals out of $2 roasting chicken. Neither of us had college educations or a trade so we worked at whatever jobs we could; filing insurance forms, selling flooring, and in manufacturing. My husband worked part-time while he went to college and we got by on food stamps and Medicaid; how I hated applying for public assistance. After my husband got his job as a forester, I finished my college degree and got an accounting job. Finally, after 14 years of marriage, we both had professional jobs and were able to buy our first house. Our income was pretty good over the next 25 years and I realize how the public assistance I hated so much, helped us become a financially self-sustaining family, and the income taxes we paid more than paid it back. Getting help doesn’t mean I’m weak; it means I need help getting through tough times. I don’t like to let it sustain me indefinitely, but rather empower me to move forward on my own. Sometimes it can be repaid, but that’s not the expectation. Never hesitate to find it, get it, and be empowered!