(Published Jan. 26, 2007, 9:38 a.m.)
Together we have helped many hurting fellow Americans in these past several weeks. Some of the people we helped include a mother and two children who were being evicted on Christmas Eve; we helped keep them in their shelter. We also helped many with their utilities. There were many people keeping their heat at very low temperatures, while wearing their coats inside.
I remember arriving at one home, where there was plastic on the windows. When I knocked on the door, the two people who answered it had their coats on. They were not expecting me, but were pleasantly shocked when I introduced myself. When I saw them with their coats on, I asked them if it was an inconvenient time and if they were leaving. They said no, so I asked to come in. They looked at each other very solemnly and invited me in. I went inside and I could still feel the same chill in the air, almost as if I were still outside. I asked them if their heat was broken. They said, "No, the heat is on very low."
I asked them if they were afraid of their pipes freezing. They informed me they were on a well and that they let it trickle so it does not freeze. We supplied them with checks payable to the utility companies. I told them they could now keep their heat on at a more comfortable level. It didn't seem to bother them as much as their child. The child could now invite friends over again. Previously, due to their pride, the parents did not want their little girl to have her friends over because they could not afford to keep the heat on at a normal level. They did not want their child's friend to go home and tell her parents that they had to wear their coats, while in the house. We made a big difference in the lives of this family, especially the child, because now she can invite her friends over.
Others used their electricity very sparingly. After dark, there were many who went with very minimal light, to keep their electric bill as low as possible. This is very hard, especially for children. We enabled many children to be able to read a book with the light on or play a game. The adults we helped provide electricity for were very thankful.
One of the people from the food pantries asked me if they can get toiletries, especially toilet paper. She said, "We are always asked if we have any toilet paper." Then she said, "If we have toilet paper, we only give one roll per family because we have little or none."
How long could one roll of toilet paper possibly last? I am making another vow that I will locate a supplier of toilet paper at the best possible price. If anyone out there has any connections, please, please call (262) 249-7000. A few homes I visited had a bucket of shredded newspapers instead of toilet paper. It is very sad that our fellow Americans do not even have toilet paper.
We take a lot of household items for granted. I found homes with rusted pots and pans with dents, broken handles, etc. We helped many in dire need of household items.
On Jan. 20, at 1 p.m., history was made: Bill McEssy's McDonald's donates $31,715 to help our local poverty-stricken: Food, $4,100; rent, $10,384; gas, $6,481; electric, $4,750; phone, $1,500; household necessities, $4,000; and water, $500.
What else did we supply with the funds from the McDonald's fundraiser? We supplied an abundance of much-needed food. For the past two years, I have been trying to get my commitment of food from Second Food Harvest in Milwaukee to the 14 food pantries in our local communities. Finally, that dream became a reality.
Thanks to the monies donated by Bill McEssy, and others who donated a total of $9,900, we were able to buy tons of food. The Time Is Now's first delivery of 23,647 pounds of food was on Jan. 20. Thanks to the Stinebrink family and their employees who allowed their store to be the drop center for the 14 local food pantries and unloading it all by hand.
Thanks to Frank Guske, Scout leaders, Scouts, parents and over 100 other people who volunteered, including some recipients of The Time Is Now to Help. Thank you, Shannon Blay and Side by Side. I also thank God for the volunteers who have been running the food pantries for the past years.
I now ask the food pantries and the coordinators to please open your doors on Saturdays from noon- 3 p.m. There are many poverty-stricken who cannot get to the food pantry during the week. It is sad how many people who need food do not get food. This is because they do not know where the pantries are, they cannot get to the pantry due to work schedules or transportation issues.
Even Meals on Wheels is only feeding 20 people. Once again, people are unaware that these programs exist. We need to make sure people know where to obtain food and that the pantries accommodate hours to feed the needy.
Frank Guske has asked fellow Scout troop leaders to volunteer at the food pantries so the pantries may be open on Saturdays and allow for extended hours during a weekday into the evening.
At the same time we will be getting the word out where the pantries are located, hours and phone numbers. Our goal is, once a month to deliver food from Second Food Harvest. More food will then be available to be given out.
Health and happiness,
Antique Day: Jan. 27, Third Annual Antique Day at the Lake Geneva Antique Mall, 829 Williams St., Lake Geneva, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Bring your antiques for appraisal, maximum three items and a $3 donation per item will go to The Time Is Now to Help.
A special thank you to: Bill McEssy, owner of our local McDonald's; Clarence and Marilyn Schawk, owner of The Geneva Inn; Bernard and Jean Labovitch; Tom and Kathy Murray; James and Janice Batten; Tom and Sue Stelling; the Bemis Foundation; The Rhoades Foundation; Robert and Cathy Meinshausen; Bill Lundberg; Johanna Sterken; Karen Oglesby; Gateway college staff and all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes including the businesses that allow our donation boxes in their places of business. Anyone who would like a Time Is Now to Help donation box in your business, please call 249-7000.
Desperately needed cars: If anyone has a car they can donate, knowing you will be helping people get back on their feet and out of their desperate need for transportation to work, etc., please call 249-7000. We have many in desperate need of reliable transportation so they can regain their independence, retain their jobs, provide food and necessities for their families and ease their pain and suffering.
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