"Guess I won't be taking my lunch break anytime soon," the woman behind the desk said, loud enough for all in line to hear.
39 year-old Dara Mullerton, single mother of two, wished that were her only problem.
Having lunch or not depended on the balance in her bank account. And as of late, she did her best to keep a balance of $20 as often as she possibly could. For now, worrying about when to take a lunch hour during work would mean having a job.
"Help you," the woman mumbled.
Dara walked up to the desk and said, "I am here to find out about what financial assistance I can receive for my family."
"What type of financial assistance do you need," said the woman, expressionless.
"Well, I'm not sure what I may qualify to receive," Dara answered.
The woman behind the counter looked aggravated. She handed Dara a small piece of paper with a number written on it and told her to go across the hall, sit down and wait until her number was called.
As Dara walked in the large waiting room, she noticed how much nicer it was compared to the old federal building. However, the people sitting throughout the room were the same.
The men and women, a few small children running around and two crying babies, one with a runny nose were all waiting their turn to speak with a counselor.
Had it really come to this? Dara had been a business executive with a global corporation for 11 years. However, all this changed when the recession hit the country.
Dara had been able to keep her position for about six months before her main client decided to bring their work within their own corporation.
Though it did not come to a complete shock, the realization that it was time to actually look for work somewhere else did seem quite daunting a task.
Dara fiigured that, with all of her contacts she would be able to find a position in a month or three months tops.
But now, in this large waiting room, she hated to admit that it had been two and a half years. At first, Dara had applied to similar positions that compared to her recent position.
Then Dara considered all of her years of other experience and success and increased her job hunt not only in industries but also outside of the country. Nothing was available.
The only thing that changed anymore was the debt she had incurred on her credit cards, the complete loss of her savings account and the weekly deposit of an unemployment check.
Was this really all she could do? Was it really true that people who lived on government funding might not all be wanting to live off the others?
Christmas was going to be tougher this year. What could she put under the tree for her two children?
"Number 143?" Dara's number was called.