LIMA — Joseph had it all prior to 2020. A good job. A traditional family. But it all fell apart in the last year.
First came the divorce followed by a short hospital stay for some heart issues. By March, the pandemic ended up taking his job in the construction field.
“This entire year has just been a roller coaster,” he said.
These days, he’s fighting to get it all back.
After months of collecting unemployment, he asked a friend for $100 to start up his own LLC and now, he’s trying to rev up his new business on top of taking care of his five children as a single dad.
“It’s been slow to launch, but we’re getting there, getting where we want to be. There’s been lots of setbacks, like trying to keep a working truck,” he said. “Balancing being a single dad with a full time business owner is a never ending challenge. We have lots of schedules. We eat a lot of meals out of a Crock Pot so it can cook while I’m at work.”
As for the Adopt a Stocking Fund, he said he doesn’t need much. So far, his new business has been able to pay the bills, but there is some concern about the holiday season. Cold winters usually mean higher utility costs, and there’s not exactly a lot of additional stretching of dollars he can do as he ensures his children have what they need to complete their remote schoolwork.
So far, they’ve been handling the pandemic well, he said, except for some of the standard stresses he expects other families are dealing with.
“Things have slowed down a little because of the season. I think there’s some skepticism in the market. During the summer, I was able to pay all of my bills up to the end of March. The money that comes in now, we’re paying for gasoline and groceries, and we’re getting by,” Joseph said. “We just kind of make every dollar count.”
For those looking to help, he said the children (ranging from age 4 to 11) are his largest concern. The girls enjoy arts and crafts — coloring books and other related items — and the boys are into Legos and, of course, video games such as Fortnite.
“We went from a traditional sort of family, and now I’m doing it all,” he said “There are days I do it with a smile and days that I don’t.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.