Every year during the holiday season, the Chattanooga Times Free Press asks its readers to donate to the Neediest Cases Fund, administered by the Partnership for Families, Adults and Children year round to help local residents whose needs cannot be met through traditional sources. All contributions are acknowledged in the newspaper. This year's fundraising effort will continue through Dec. 31.
When she moved to Chattanooga, Andrianna Roberson had to swallow her pride.
Roberson has had problems with her teeth since the birth of her first child in 1980, but in the last year, her gums became infected.
"Passed 10," she said, describing the pain in her mouth, "because it went so long without anything."
Eventually the pain became so bad, and Roberson had to ask for help.
She went to the office of Neisha Peterson, a case manager for Partnership Families, Children and Adults, to ask for help. Roberson knew that she needed her teeth pulled, but she didn't know how to pay for it.
Though she had a job in St. Louis, since her move, she has been unable to find work.
"I didn't have $98 -- I didn't even have $0.98," she said.
Peterson used Neediest Cases to give Roberson the money she needed to have two teeth pulled as well as an X-ray.
"She didn't have any income, and I couldn't find anyone to fix her teeth for free," Peterson said.
Peterson has an office in Boynton Towers, and though she mostly deals with people needing help with food and other basic needs, residents come to her with a variety of issues.
"I'm trying to keep everybody in their homes," Peterson said. "It is a blessing that we have those funds to help people."
The funds have been a blessing for Roberson. Often, she said, people will know other's needs, but will be unwilling to help. It's up to those in need to ask for the help.
Asking was the hardest part for Roberson, but she will continue to ask. She said she recently returned to Peterson's office to ask a food box.
Despite the help that she has already received, Roberson is still in need of more dental work. She needs additional teeth pulled because of her persistent gum infection, and will eventually have to get dentures.
She is hopeful that these needs will be provided for her somehow.
"God is not going to let his children go without," Roberson said. "There's somebody out there that's going to help me -- I just don't have their number yet."
Contact staff writer Rachel Bunn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6592.