Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Solo struggle.(Trends)

Byline: Tania Soussan Journal Staff Writer

Social service agencies help single mother cope with overwhelming stress

SANTA FE Living one day in Evelyn Borrego's shoes would be enough to exhaust most women. But after a full shift at work and a few hours of sleep, this single mother of four is bright and upbeat.

"She's a remarkable woman," said Diane Dennedy-Frank, a counselor at Catholic Charities of Santa Fe who has worked with Borrego and her children.

"Single parents have to have an enormous amount of strength and resiliency," Dennedy-Frank said.

Even with strength and resiliency on her side, Borrego, 48, has had to struggle to make ends meet and to keep her family together.

A typical day for her begins at midnight, when she starts her job updating prices for the electronic scanners and shelf tags at a Furrs Supermarket. Borrego works without a break until 7:15 a.m., when she goes home to pick up her youngest daughter and drive her to school.

After returning to Furrs and finishing out her shift, Borrego starts a load of laundry at home so her daughter will have a clean uniform to wear to work. Then, she crawls into bed.

She's up and out the door again by 2:35 p.m. to pick her daughter up from school and take her to her job at a Baskin Robbins ice cream store.

From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Borrego has a few hours to herself. She calls to check on her parents, does a little reading or meditation and starts supper before going back to pick up her daughter from work.

Borrego and her daughter Melia the only one of her children still living at home eat together at the table, with a lit candle and a prayer.

Since getting divorced 10 years ago, Borrego's life has been a series of ups and downs. At the time, her children ranged in age from 4 1/2 to 17 years.

"A lot has happened to my kids and me," she said.

"Without my family and a lot of close friends and Catholic (Charities), I would not be where I am today," Borrego added. "After the divorce, I was very, very scared."

She said the counseling she and her kids received at Catholic Charities has made a big difference in their lives, and she encouraged other single mothers to seek help.

In the early days after her divorce, putting food on the table was tough. She picked up food boxes for Thanksgiving and about once a month during the rest of the year from social service agencies. …

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