Eric and Lori Mann were no strangers to hard work and sacrifice: they had gone without many things before, and they were living on the edge of poverty when Eric started coursework to become a pilot.

Eventually, Eric earned his wings and became a captain—but after just five months, COVID-19 shut down much of the airline business, and his income was cut in half. Then he was wrongfully terminated, the state withheld his unemployment benefits, and the family began to feel the bitter pinch of hard times again.

As the threat of utilities being shut off, eviction from their home, impending loss of their vehicles, and the possibility of bankruptcy loomed over their heads, they relied on food pantries to help feed their family. Lori says it was difficult for her sons to watch their parents work so hard to present an image of a normal life while trying to provide for and protect them.

But they are a resourceful family. Eric and the boys took on landscaping jobs and even started a balloon design business to create extra income. Eric praises his sons: “They’ve been a huge encouragement to me, as they worked hard for our family while still moving ahead with their homeschool studies.”

In those difficult days, the boys surprised their parents with a treat. Wanting to lift their parents’ spirits, the boys dressed up in their best clothes and served Eric and Lori a fancy dinner, complete with a dance floor in their living room accompanied by Bing Crosby softly playing in the background. Those kinds of small moments and thoughtful actions became some of the family’s cherished memories.

Help when help was needed

When volunteer HSLDA Ambassador Stephanie Webber learned that the family was struggling to keep their cars and pay utility bills, she connected Lori with HSLDA Compassion. “I remembered Lori,” Stephanie says, “because she donated books for our book sale two years ago. At that time, she was so delighted to help.”

Stephanie then went to work right away to arrange for an Arizona State Ambassador Fund grant that would help keep them in their home for another month. “It’s so gratifying to be a part of helping others like this!” Stephanie adds.

Bolstered by this kindness, the Manns felt a renewed sense of hope and were able to finish their homeschooling year well. As a family, they now look forward to Eric beginning a new career in the wellness industry, where Lori will join him in business.

“We are thankful for the love God has shown us through HSLDA,” Lori says.

If you’ve given to HSLDA, you’ve been a part of helping families like Eric and Lori’s. Thank you! Would you like to donate to the HSLDA Ambassador fund to help homeschoolers in your specific state? Click here and select your state. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an ambassador, learn more here.