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  Case Histories and Testimonials

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.For three years Lafayah who had been surviving on welfare and handouts lived in her car with her seven year old son Joey. Joey had a severe case of asthma. For two years, she had been taking Joey for treatment to a welfare clinic in the Bronx. But Joey's condition was getting worse and on a blustery December morning, unable to bear the winter chills in her car, mustered the courage to seek shelter for herself and Joey in the food class. Lafayah had just happened to have parked in the neighborhood, close to the center where MOM's weekend classes on nutrition were being held. Lafayah and Joey were both shivering uncontrollably, as Joey struggled for breath. The instructor ceased what she was doing and quickly provided them with yoga mats to keep them warm. But Joey's condition was deteriorating quickly. He was not able to breathe. The instructor took the hot pot of carrot, ginger and scallion soup she was demonstrating, over to Joey and helped to support his face over the steaming pot. She placed a towel over Joey's head and gently persuaded him to relax. Thanks to the alert thinking of the instructor, the pungent steam had helped Joey to breathe again. After ten minutes of inhalation, Joey had recovered from his asthmatic attack. Visibly relieved that her son was breathing again, Lafayah started to cry and confided in the instructor that she had been begging for handouts in the street "to keep myself and Joey from starving to death." MOM assisted Lafayah to find a homeless shelter that provided a warm room for her and Joey which she shared with other inmates. Lafayah began attending the food classes, and she and Joey would stay on afterwards to have their meals and help with the clean-up. Less than a year later, Lafayah now holds down a part time job, she was able to rent a small apartment of her own, and Joey is now completely free of asthma. In a recent letter to MOM, Lafayah writes, "Thanks to MOM, Joey no longer suffers from asthma and I don't have to live with the shame of poverty anymore!"