June 1, 2020  |  


By Alan Rollins, FII Story Curator

In the “Motor City” the automotive capital of the world, life without your own transportation can make life pretty tough. Detroiters are faced with shortages of goods and services and a sub par public transportation system. However there is no shortage of gas stations and corner stores stocking their shelves with over priced canned and packaged processed foods and personal care products offered to residents when it comes shopping for life’s essentials. The lack of affordable and nutritional food essentially makes Detroit a food desert. Detroit’s surrounding suburbs serve as an oasis of many sorts due to the scarcity of employment, medical practitioners, restaurants and entertainment. Only a woman with sheer determination and the love of her children could make this work taking public transportation. A woman like native Detroiter Shaunte Smith, single mother of three children. Her children, all under the age of seven, traveled with her as she navigated the Metro area to have their basic needs met.

Smith, a member of FII since January of 2017, set goals for her life as all members do when first joining FII. Smith set goals to make changes in her life for the better, including purchasing a car. She stated that she was tired of being out in the cold with children waiting for a bus yet again past its scheduled time for arrival. Smith was able to make that purchase with the unrestricted cash received from FII. She is now able to meet her family’s needs through the use of that vehicle and is gainfully employed working for a fast food chain. Smith’s long term goal is becoming a homeowner, but she now faces a new challenge. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected her life as it has for millions of other Americans in many ways. School closings have caused her to have child care issues and has negatively impacted her income. Still, Smith credits FII for being a beacon of light during these uncertain times by providing encouragement. Through UpTogether she finds encouragement, support and an opportunity to associate with good people sharing themselves and their resources with others also in need.

Recent Posts

FII Newsletter

Sign up to read inspiring family stories, thought leadership articles and FII updates across the U.S.