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For some, working isn't enough to pay for the American dream

(Published April 26, 2007, 3:21 p.m.)

Dear WC,

I am a single mother of one. Thanks to a friend of mine, who picks up my child from school when she picks up hers, I am able to work overtime, which I desperately need to do every day. Even though I work hard and my daughter and I live frugally, we need a little help. My daughter came down with strep throat and I had to get her a prescription. Paying for the prescription and having to take a couple days off work caused me to fall behind on my rent. If you could contact me and assist us in any way, it would be appreciated.

 

Dear readers,

Once again, the reality of our American economy, working 55 hours per week, and still not being able to make ends meet, has destroyed the American Dream. For those of us who manage to live the American Dream, it is difficult to understand there are millions of Americans struggling to survive.

After researching this situation, I discovered the mother was rationing her own food so her child could have what other children had. There are many living on the edge of financial disaster, who go without. There are others who are doing satisfactory. They are able to have proper meals, clothing, allow their children to attend extra-curricular activities at school, have the comforts of home and live without the fear of ending up homeless.

This mother was providing for her child, so she could participate in extra-curricular activities at school. These activities usually only cost a few dollars or more. When you are watching every dollar you spend, the extra activities can take a toll. This mother was determined that her daughter would not feel the pain and shame of being unable to participate or go without eating properly. The mother would only eat two unsubstantial meals per day. The daughter was well nourished, and the mother was doing a wonderful job loving her and caring for her.

The extra winter utility expenses, the child’s illness and the missed hours at work set this mother and child behind. I asked the mother if she went to her local food pantry. She said she did not know where the food pantry was located. I informed her where the food pantry was, but there was still a problem. The food pantry was not open on Saturdays and that was the only day she could go. She said she was ashamed to ask her friend to go for her, during the week, when the pantry was open. Her pride did not allow her to tell her friend she did not have enough food.

We helped this mother and child get caught up on their rent and utilities. This gave her peace of mind, knowing she was no longer behind. We also provided her some gift certificates for food and household necessities. Together we helped ease the worry of this mother. We helped to nourish her, to give her the strength to carry on as a mother and as an employee working 55 hours per week.

At work, the mother earns $7.75 an hour. After adding up the expenses on her budget, I could easily see how they could get behind. Even with only earning $7.75 per hour, she still had to pay taxes and she did not earn time and a half for overtime. There was no way they would be able to survive without the mother sacrificing her portion of food and other necessities for herself. She was just happy to have a job. This seems to be a common motto of our American citizens these days. No matter what our cost of living is, no matter how much we get paid to work, we think, “Thank God I have a job.”

We thank God we have a job, yet we hope and pray that our wages could be higher. It would be easier living in our country if our fellow Americans shared a little more of the wealth. Also if we knew our government was doing a better job making sure there weren’t 40 million Americans going to bed hungry every night. What happened to, “By the people, of the people and for the people”? Our good politicians are out numbered by our bad politicians.

We did our part by helping this mother and child. I thank everyone for participating, caring and sharing.

I would like to thank Frank Guske, the troop leaders the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and all the many volunteers for providing all the hard work necessary for the second food distribution. Their combined efforts brought food to the food pantries once again. We will be having another delivery Saturday, April 28. God bless all of you for caring and sharing.

We now need to continue our networking through newsletters, churches, letters, phone calls, etc. to appeal to the food pantries to be open on Saturdays. We need to touch the hearts of the board members of the pantries and provide them with the necessary volunteers, to let them know there is a need to be open on Saturdays. So many more people in need would utilize the food pantries, if they were off work when the food pantry was open. If you would like to volunteer at one of the food pantries, please contact your local food pantry.

It will take time to get the word out to our fellow citizens—we are there to help. We need to let people know where the pantries are and when they are open. At first, Saturdays will seem like a waste to be open. Over time, with our networking, the hungry will come. We need commitment from the volunteers for Saturdays, until it is established. All of us can reach out and spread the word. We need to put an end to hunger in our local communities.

I want to thank Mark and Matt Stinebrink for their quick efforts in providing toilet paper at our last food distribution. I would like to thank everyone who helped to distribute this much-needed toilet paper. We will continue our efforts in bringing awareness to the locations and hours of the local food pantries and making sure toiletries are supplied.

Thank you for reading and networking our column to your friends, family and business associates. Thank you to all the groups and organizations for doing such a wonderful job caring and sharing for our neighbors in need throughout our communities.

Health and happiness,

God bless,

WC

 

Events: Flea Market, Antiques, Fishing Equipment Sale-Saturday, April 28 at Hogan’s Goat, 2028 North Shore Drive, in Delavan. A portion of the proceeds is to benefit The Time Is Now. Other items include: Fishing items, golf items, hunting and sporting items, bar items, tools, books, clothes, etc. Hot dogs, brats, chips, coffee and refreshments will also be available for purchase.

A special thank you to: Immanuel United Church of Christ, Roger Miller, Jeffery Shay, Richard and Jean Honeyager, Peter and Sandra Douglas, Donald and Gladys Keith, James and Janice Batten, Terry and Judith Jahnke, Mr. and Mrs. Roche, ALL of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, and the businesses that allow our donation boxes. Anyone who would like a Time Is Now to Help donation box in your business, please call 249-7000.

Endowments/helping others through your will: For those of you who wish to leave an endowment for the poverty stricken, we would greatly accept any gifts. Please think of those in desperate need, good people, living in fear of poverty and consider helping them through your will.

Desperately needed cars: If anyone has a car they can donate, knowing you will be helping people get back on their feet, 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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