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Keeping Up Appearances After a Layoff Can Be Hard Work

Meanwhile, the fortunes of the family, which includes his wife, Lori, and two children, ages 13 and 9, have spiraled downward. They are on food stamps. Dinner is sometimes cold cereal.

They haven't paid their mortgage in months. The bank said it would give them until fall, so Cole lies in bed at night wondering -- when would it be worse to be evicted? In early fall, which is sooner, or late fall, when it's colder? Are they going to have to put their three cats in a shelter? Are they going to have to put themselves in a shelter?

He hopes his story could help someone else in the same situation.

"It's a bad time to look for a job," he said. "There are far fewer jobs out there. A lot of families are suffering."

It could be one of his neighbors. Or the person at the grocery store. Or in the next pew on Sunday. That's the thing about shadows. They are all around us.

Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

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