(Published June 21, 2007, 2:51 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.
My neighbor who lives only a few doors from us needs some help. Their child is the same age as one of ours. I used to talk to my neighbor and her husband when I would see them outside. For the last two months I have not seen the husband. I don't want to seem nosy but their daughter stopped coming over to our house also.
One day when I was out walking, I decided to knock on the door to see how they were doing. When she answered, I asked how she has been and her reply was, "Fine." She didn't act like everything was "fine"-she was acting reserved. I thought perhaps it was just a bad time. I then asked if it was OK if the girls got together and played today. She said that would be fine.
Later that day, when the girls were playing at my house, I made some lunch for them. I noticed that my neighbor's child was very anxious for lunch. She ate it without her usual good manners and shortly after eating her food much too fast she vomited. Everyone else who ate was fine so I know it wasn't the food.
I brought her home and told the mother what had happened and how she seemed to have eaten much too fast. As I looked at the mother I could see she was ashamed and she kept apologizing. I said there was no need to apologize. I asked her what was going on.
She hesitantly told me her husband had left her and she had not heard from him in about two months. She said he had asked for a divorce after telling her he had met someone else.
I asked if he had been sending money home because I knew she didn't work. She had not had a job since her daughter was born. She said she was supposed to be starting a job in another week. When I asked how she was getting along her answer was, "Not very well."
To make a long story short, the little girl and her mother did not have much food and did not know where the food pantry was located. I made arrangements to bring her. The child got sick because she had not had much to eat in a long time. When she did get her meal she ate it so fast all that food upset her stomach.
I told the mother she should have told us sooner and she said she did not want to be a burden since she knew we were struggling as well. I had shared with her several months prior that my husband had lost his job due to the company downsizing. He has a new job paying half the pay but it is still a job. At least we are still eating. We are still making ends meet because both my husband and I are working. Could you please check in on her?
A devoted reader and neighbor
D ear Readers,
I thank this neighbor who reads our column for bringing this lady to our attention. Yes, the husband had left them destitute and the mother needed help. We helped give her some direction on a new budget, along with some help from her parents whom I contacted. They were in a position to help but she was too embarrassed to talk to them. I told her we were able to help her with her back rent, assist her with utilities and give her some food. Going forward without help from her parents, who could afford to give some help, was unwise.
Since then I have checked in on them and they are doing quite well. They are not skipping any meals and they now know where the food pantry is. It is important that we do network our food pantries to the general public. She and her parents have come to an agreement. Her mother helps watch the child now that she has gotten a job.
I received a letter from the parents thanking us very much for bringing the needs of their daughter and grandchild to their attention. They feel indebted to Time is Now for bringing the pain and suffering to their attention so that they can relieve some of their daughter's burden. The mother and child also thanked us for helping with their financial crisis during that time. The mother related that they are closer to their daughter than they have ever been and they wished health and happiness to everyone.
A special thank you to: Joe and the YMCA staff, Stackpool Chiropractic, Pam deRoy, Richard and Jean Honeyager, Tom and Mary Johnson, owners of Reed's Marine in Delavan, Margaret and Franklin Trafford, Orlin and Mary Stoughton, Donna and Shawn McLafferty, Claudia Siesennop, Tracy Wetherton, James and Karen Goodrick, Peter and Sandra Douglas, Flitcroft Septic Systems, Thomas and Lillian Sheehan, in memory of Leo Grace, Dominick, Rose Loverde, in memory of Delores Fleck, and Jeff Rhyan in memory of Margo Rhyan.
Desperately needed cars: We presently have a waiting list of people in need of cars. You will be helping someone get back on their feet by providing them much-needed transportation to work, provide food and necessities for their families and ease their pain and suffering.
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