(Memphis) 31-year-old Brandy Washington is like a lot of people these days. She knows a thing or two about trying to hold down two jobs to make ends meet,
"I work for a tax preparation company. I'm also a certified nurse assistance and I am a student at Southwest," Washington said.
But she also knows how tough it can be to in this economy to pay to her Memphis Light, Gas and Water bill when one of her jobs is only seasonal,.
"I actually came down here because my seasonal job will end and actually ended March the first. So, I got a light bill and I got a cutoff notice. So, I needed some assistance until I go back to work."
Washington is one of the many different faces of Memphians seeking help through MIFA's emergency services.
"It feels really bad when you get a cutoff notice and the date that it says it's due and you just may not have it all."
It's not just single mothers, but seniors, single fathers, people without children, two-parent households, grandparents and guardians needing assistance for their families and children.
"It's difficult to tell that to a child because a lot of them don't understand and especially at the age of 12, which is what my daughter is. She doesn't understand if she comes home and the lights are off. She's not going to handle that very well."
It's why Washington has come to MIFA for utility assistance through its Plus-1 program.
Plus-1 is a partnership between MIFA and MLGW. It provides utility help to individuals and families in financial crisis.
"I think it's a great program that God put into place to help us."
The monies for Plus-1 come from one-time and month contributions from Memphis Light, Gas and Water customers, businesses and congregations.
The average eligible household receives 200 dollars in help, plus negotiation with LG&W to create a payment plan for help keep the lights on for hundreds of families like Brandy Washinton's.
"The program helps in a lot of different ways you don't know. There are so many children sitting without lights and we don't know it and we don't address it. It's a secret and this program when it ask you donate one dollar, it does count."