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Barbara lost her home and all her belongings in a fire. In the short time it took for the house to burn to the ground, Barbara watched her entire future go up in flames. "When our home burned, we had no insurance," Barbara says, holding back tears. "My husband's really ill and we could not afford insurance. … He feels like he's not going to live to see us get another home."

Barbara and her family now live in a storage trailer without plumbing or electricity. She has to accept handouts for the first time in her life. "Before my husband got sick, we both worked," says Barbara. "We did all right." Now she feeds her family with donations from the local food bank that services more than 6,000 families each year.

Although Barbara has dreams for her children's future, she struggles to find hope for her own. "I always considered myself to be lucky. I had my kids and I had my husband. Truly, that's all I wanted. Now, I kind of feel like the world's beat me up…and I can't get up."
FROM: Oprah Special Report: Inside the Lives of America's Poor
Published on October 12, 2005


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