Lunch, Doozies and Deserving a Piece of the Pie

Our Daily Lives page present excerpts of women’s autobiographies, essays, letters, journals, diaries, oral histories and testimony with the hopes our readers will respond to the authentic emotions and ideas, see a connection to their own lives, and send us a note. Women’s Enews will post selected reactions from our readers for all to read.This essay is written by a former welfare mother who became a college-educated social worker. Now disabled, she relies on her $512 per month disability payments, plus the $10 per week she is paid to tutor the women the others call doozies.It is a late winter Thursday afternoon in Ross County, in the northern edge of Ohio’s Appalachian hills.I’m sitting in a lunch meeting eating pizza and downing Pepsi with the staff and volunteer mentors of Project Uplift, discussing a “doozie” (the label the caseworkers have assigned to mothers with “special” problems). Soon, according to federal welfare regulations, the doozies will lose their benefits because they’ve not yet found jobs.Funded by a Human Services grant, the project’s mission is to somehow build bridges to employment for these mothers. Everyone involved in the project is thoroughly dedicated to the cause, stirred by the challenge to do the seemingly impossible, and sincerely wanting to help these women who are “less fortunate than themselves.”