When Pamela picked up her phone to call CAP in early 2011, she was sceptical that “just another budgeting agency” could help her out of what had become a daily fight to survive.
Five years earlier, Pamela was struggling financially, and began to live beyond her means, spending money she didn’t have, simply to support herself and her three children.
When a two-year custody battle led to bills she could not pay, Pamela found herself in a downward spiral, some weeks feeding her family on $4 a day.
“We learned to live on bread, because it’s cheap, and it filled the kids up,” she says.
Some days, Pamela dreaded creditors’ calls so much that she remained in bed, avoiding all contact with the outside world. Suffering in silence, feeling as if she was failing her children, Pamela contemplated suicide as the only way to make the struggle stop.
“Debt was a noose around my neck,” she shares. “It made my whole world dark, affected everything.”
When Pamela was at her lowest, a friend insisted she call CAP. Because she’d already tried other budgeting services and had been told bankruptcy was the only way out, Pamela doubted anyone could help.
In spite of her doubts, she made an appointment to see Doreen, the CAP Debt Help Centre Manager at St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in Tauranga.
When Doreen arrived at Pamela’s house for that first visit, she came with understanding, hope and a solution.
For the first time in years, Pamela felt the noose loosen.
“I was talking to someone who understood, who didn’t judge me for being in this situation. She offered me something I hadn’t ever had before: a way out, a better life for my family.”
After that first meeting, Pamela began her journey out of debt, with Doreen and a support team around her. As her caseworkers negotiated fair repayment terms with those she owed and she consistently began paying into her CAP account and settling her debts, she found that the day-to-day became manageable. In fact, she had more than $100 a week to feed her family!
And, after a few years spent searching for a church home, Pamela found a group of people at St. Peter’s who lovingly embraced her entire family. Her faith began to grow in new ways, and today, she has a stronger relationship with Jesus than she has ever had before.
Eighteen months into her journey, Pamela became debt free and hasn’t looked back!
But she also hasn’t forgotten where she came from. Today, Pamela volunteers as a CAP befriender, supporting other CAP families as they take the same courageous steps that she did.
“Debt can happen to anyone, regardless of life situation. But CAP has the solution and I want to be part of that!”