(Published Feb. 16, 2007, 4:45 p.m.)
D ear Readers:
I received a letter from a young teenage girl requesting help with food and other bills. She stated that her mother cries whenever she cannot pay a bill or put food on the table. She added a PS on her letter that said, "Please do not inform my father that I wrote for help as he would get very mad."
Since they had no telephone, I waited until the weekend when there is no school or the possibility of no work hours to pay them a visit. Fate was on my side; the mother was home on my first visit. The father was not home; as it turned out they recently separated. The father had found another girlfriend and had moved in with her, but at the same time was trying to maintain control over his wife and daughter. What kind of world do we live in?
The mother was surprised to see me there with a letter from her daughter in hand. She called her daughter into the room and asked "Did you write this letter to WC?"
You could see that the daughter was a little embarrassed that she had written a letter. I had made a copy of it, but had removed the P.S. part. I wanted to see what the situation in the home was first. I did not want to break that confidence.
The daughter said, "Yes, I did, Mom." The mother asked, "Why did you?" With that the daughter asked, "Are you WC?" I said, "Yes, I am." She said, "Thank you for coming to help." The mother said, "Dear, I asked you a question." With that the daughter turned, hugged the mother, and said, "Because I love you, Mom."
The mother hugged her daughter back, and then began to cry. The daughter started crying. I was also moved to tears, but I composed myself as I watched the love between them. I could see they had a wonderful bond, as all mothers and daughters should share. I told them, "I am here to help in any way I can." I could feel my own eyes welling with tears because of seeing the overwhelming emotions in front of me. I dared not to blink, because I did not want any tears spilling down my face in front of them. As I turned my face away I asked, "Can we all sit together over here?" The mother said, "Of course."
I looked around to see if there were any tissues to offer them, but there were none. I tried to see if they had any paper towels and noted that they did not have any of those either. Then the mother reached over and grabbed a rag and wiped her eyes and her daughter's eyes.
I found out that the mother had a job working the night shift. She had been at the same job for eight years, paying almost $8 an hour. I found out their food supply was very short and the father had recently left to go live with another woman. When the father did come around, he was still trying to control them. He was not helping them out financially. He would occasionally supply them with a fish he caught or some venison. How can they survive on that for three meals a day with nothing else to eat besides?
The mother was responsible. The father did not have a job. He felt that his job was to supply food, no matter what he thought it was, and to reprimand the family at any given moment. Remember, this is a family that he has now abandoned, but still stops in to occasionally drop off some wild game.
The mother was earning just enough to barely pay the rent, put a small amount toward the utilities, occasionally fix her old car and maintain life's essentials. I asked if I may look around, as I always do. I found very little in the way of food. I looked at both of them, thinking to myself, bewildered how they were surviving. I proceeded to get the name and phone number of the father. Of course he had a phone number, but the mother did not.
I excused myself and returned shortly with food and a payment for her utilities. I did contact the employer and informed them that if there was any opportunity for a raise, they certainly could use it. Without going into too many details, with permission of the daughter, I showed the employer the letter requesting help.
The employer fortunately knew of The Time Is Now to Help and quite often when he visited a couple of his favorite establishments, he would drop money into our coin donation boxes. The employer gave a substantial raise-God bless this employer. The mother now is making over $12 an hour.
When I tried to visit the father, he was very reluctant to meet with me. He said, "I will meet you any time, any place." But he made it very challenging to finally meet. As I met with him, I asked him where his focus on life was. It was one of the stories that I get all of the time. It is so sad to see a father abandon his family. When things get tough we are supposed to stay together, not abandon our loved ones.
I asked him, "Why are you still trying to control their lives?" He had no logical answer to give; he was just that type of person. I questioned him about the food source. He replied, "I grew up like that, eating squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, opossum and I live like that now." I said "Your daughter needs better than that to eat and, so does your wife." Even though they were not divorced, he said, "My ex-wife."
I said, "In the future if you want to help them, you should not do so by trying to push off inedible food on them and boss them around." Some of the food he was bringing them should not have been eaten. He yelled at me. After I continued to ask other questions, I concluded: Proper authorities will be informed if he continued to abuse the mother and daughter. He yelled, "Fine, I have had a new life for over a year anyway."
It has been quite some time now. The father has stopped making demands of the mother and daughter. The mother and the daughter are relieved. He never did ask me how I found out. I just informed him that I keep an eye out for people in need and I recognized that there was a need. It is true-together we do keep an eye out for our fellow Americans in need of help.
The mother and daughter now are doing fine. With the new raise, their highlight of the week is to go food shopping together. It seems the mother is an excellent cook and the daughter is following in her footsteps. She has written me a letter telling me how wonderful it is to be learning to cook from her mother.
The last time I saw them, they both looked much healthier and happier. I want to thank everyone for caring and charing with The Time Is Now to Help and for helping our fellow creations of our Lord. Thank you.
Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
A special thank you to: Bernard and Jean Labovitch, Tom and Kathy Murray, Glenn and Jeanne Dyer, Frank and Mary Jean Gauger, Richard and Jean Honeyager, Donald and Gladys Keith, Jeanne Maclean, the Lake Geneva Business Park, and ALL of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes.