(Jewish Family and Children’s Services) For 20 years, Asher* owned a thriving business and enjoyed the many material things that went along with financial success. However, during the 2008 recession, Asher hit rock bottom.

“My business crashed and burned,” he says quietly. “I lost my house, and had to declare bankruptcy. Over time, I was reduced to using food stamps, and seeking out food banks. And at some point, I had to sell my plasma to pay for food and gas.”

The 49-year-old former business owner wistfully concedes that being divorced and having grown children, at least spared him the grief of subjecting his family to embarrassment and difficult times. “If you have to go through anything like this, best to do it alone,” he says wryly.

Eventually the pendulum began to swing back in Asher’s favor. “My rabbi referred me to the JFCS program Helping Hands where I received gift cards and money to help pay my bills.” Asher also received job-search assistance through Jewish Career Services.

“I discovered that resume-writing has changed over the years. It’s more like an art form now…who knew?” he laughs. “What did I know about job banks or networking groups? My career coach gave me information and referrals. So I went, met people, and kept pounding the pavement.”

Asher secured a full-time management position at an established firm! “While the salary was lower than warranted by my qualifications, I no longer had to rely on others.” Not only is he able to pay back debts, Asher also chooses to donate regularly to JFCS. “I know they don’t expect it, but for me, it’s away to express my gratitude,” he shrugs his shoulders and smiles broadly. “Giving back, and helping JFCS to help others, is the least I can do.”

*Alternative name and photo have been used to protect the client’s privacy.

This article was originally posted on Jewish Family & Children’s Services.

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