211 Alameda County helps thousands each year connect to services

Photo: Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group

VM always considered herself “an overcomer,” especially when it came to helping others overcome their own adversity.

There was the time she and her husband aided her parents when they hit financial shoals at the church they ministered. And when she paid for nieces and nephews’ school uniforms because they couldn’t afford it. And once, she gave up her share in the family’s longtime Oakland home so her cash-strapped sister could benefit.

“My mom was truly our best friend, and she always told us to stick together like the five fingers on your hand,” said VM, who asked that only her initials be used.

But even survivors need a little help every now and then. Her husband died in 2005 after a long illness, and in late 2018 she became ill and fell into financial hardship. The family support she hoped to get did not materialize.

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