(Published March. 2, 2007, 2:38 p.m.)
Editor's Note: The following is a letter to The Time Is Now, a private charity serving Walworth County. The founder, who knew poverty as a child, now provides help for those in need. Every penny donated goes to the needy for daily necessities of life. Donors will receive a tax-deductible itemized receipt showing exactly where every penny was spent. We'll publish a letter most weeks.
D ear WC,
I still can’t get over the fact that we have someone to write to for assistance for those who are hurting and need help. Thank you for giving us this opportunity, not only to think about others, but also to be able to do something about our thoughts.
A neighbor who lives a couple miles away became a widow several years ago. We have this feeling help is needed. We see some of the tell-tale signs. There is always only one light on. We know where she works and that she cannot be earning enough to get by. We wonder if you could please check in on her. Thank you for all that you do and for all the people that you help throughout our communities.
God bless, A thankful neighbor
D ear Neighbor:
Your intuition was correct; there was a need for our assistance. Thank you for bringing this widow to my attention.
D ear Readers:
I followed through on this request for possible help. I met a wonderful lady who had lost her husband approximately five years ago. I made a phone call and introduced myself. When I asked her how she was doing she replied, “Well, you know how it is. Prices of everything go up, wages stay the same and the government spends more money on the world economy than on its American citizens here in the United States.”
After talking some more, I asked if it would be all right for me to pay a visit. She said yes. We met one evening and just as the neighbor had stated there was only one light on. When I knocked on the door I noticed the light went out. I wondered if she was trying to pretend like she was not home. All of a sudden a light came on over the front porch. The door was opened and I was welcomed in. As I walked in the light went off over the front porch and a light came on in the room we were going to sit in. She said, “Please excuse me with the lights. It is a habit I have in order to keep my utility costs down.”
I commented on the diligence of these actions. I stated, “People should be more conscientious of the cost of energy and their expenses.” She smiled and thanked me for the kind gesture. This broke the ice. She thanked me for coming by, stating she does not get very many visitors. I thanked her for allowing me to come over.
I found out she was on the edge of losing everything and she was falling further behind every day. As frugal as her attempts had been she still got to the point where she was behind in her utilities. To make ends meet she made very frugal meals. She used the bare minimum on everything including her heat, water, electric, food, etc. She uses as many coupons as she can. I introduced her to her local food pantry where she may obtain food. She said, “At one time I thought the food pantry was not for me. After reviewing my budget you can see I am very close to making ends meet. That is unless I get sick or my car breaks down.”
I could tell from her work history that she was a good employee, willing to work all the time. She would stay after hours many days to keep her boss’s business running. She is an all-around good person and employee, which many employers would love to have. Her only relationship was with her one employer. Her employer was very fair with her pay.
We helped her get caught up on her utilities. We gave her assistance with obtaining food and some direction for obtaining food in the future. I gave her points on nutrition to try and keep her diet more balanced in order to maintain her health. She was very concerned about her health because a doctor bill could set her back financially. She agreed to eat a better diet. She said the food pantry would be a great help. We also helped her with rent and some small household appliances to make life a little easier. Her small appliances had broken over a year ago and she could not afford to replace them. It is sad when you cannot afford to purchase a toaster, pots and pans, utensils, etc. no matter how cheap they are. It is a sad state of affairs when our fellow Americans are found in or on the verge of poverty and cannot provide their most basic necessities.
Together with the help we have given this lady, and the way she is strictly budgeting to maintain her lifestyle, she will now be able to keep on her feet, providing she does not have any problems come up. We also networked this lady with some wonderful people who have become friends. These friends want to be there to help provide, in case the need for a prescription or some other unexpected expense arises. Through their relationship the widow is willing to accept this help. It is a win-win situation for all. Doing good for others helps people live the life they should be living.
I want to thank everyone for caring and sharing.
Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
A special thank you to: Bernard and Jean Labovitch, Peter and Sandra Douglas, Larry and Verna Lee Magee, Floyd and Elizabeth Hafferty, Paul and Dottie Retzlaff, Lynn Spleas and Gwen Quincannon. Bernard and Jean Labovitch, Lakes Area Women’s Society, Lakeland Builders Association/Builders’ Helpers, St. Francis De Sales, Mr. Newman, Mr. Rayner, Mr. Mehring, Jeff Rhyan, Mark and Natalie Reno, Dan and Maria Kucera, Dale and Sue Healey, 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.