(Published Sept. 6, 2007, 2:22 p.m.)
Send your donation to: The Time Is Now to Help, PO Box 70, Pell Lake, WI 53157
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.
I received two requests to look in on a mom and her children who have been getting food from the food pantry for several months and that the mother was very ill. One of her children requires oxygen and they had received their final disconnection notice from their utility company. Also, their car had broken down.
I noticed the kitchen table and asked where she got it.
"I pulled the legs out of a garbage dumpster and I was given the piece of drywall to put on top," the mother said.
I could see that one of the children was very embarrassed.
"It's a nice table but we will have to get you another one," I said.
With that the child looked up recognizing that we were there to help. I asked where the oldest child was and was told that the child was very distraught over the situation.
When they registered for school they learned they owed money from the previous year plus the fees owed for this year. Since they only had a few dollars, they couldn't pay and left filled with embarrassment and shame.
Their landlord is a very wonderful person and has been providing a good roof over their heads and a nice place to live. I guess it would be embarrassing-as one of the children put it-to bring your friends over, but I reminded them they are not alone. There are 40 million Americans going to bed hungry ever day and their situation was better than most. I wanted to be positive about their situation. I was there to help, not to feed into the emotional trauma.
I had to coax the children to gather around with their mother as I told them about how I was brought up in poverty but we all stuck together as a family. They listened intently, understanding that there are others who live like they do. They needed to be aware that they were definitely not alone and that the Time Is Now was going to help them also.
Their electric bill was a few thousand dollars behind and I told them that we would bring that bill up to date. It turned out their car had almost 300,000 miles on it and there was no simple fix. The car was literally falling apart. Thanks to a wonderful caring couple who have donated several cars, I was able to tell the mother and children that we did have a car for them. With this news the mother cried in relief and gratitude. Her tears were very heartfelt and it just went right through me as she was sobbing and crying and the children started crying, too.
After everything calmed down a bit I discovered that through all of this, there was more pain. This young mother was also dealing with cancer, a nervous disorder and also a bone disease.
I thought to myself, 'the Lord isn't supposed to give us more than we can handle.' At least that is what I have been told.
And there was more. One of the children was brutally abused by her father, who is now gone. The small child had sustained brain damage to the point that she cannot be outside when it is hot. She must be kept indoors where it is cool due to the brain injury. If she is exposed to any excessive heat she could endure physical trauma due to her brain swelling. This is the same child who needs to be on oxygen when sleeping.
We supplied them with beds and bedding and Pick 'N Save gift certificates so they could get some foods not available at the food pantry. By the time I got through reviewing the entire situation, accessing all the daily necessities needed like furniture, beds, utilities and just a few dollars for some daily necessities, I could see things starting to add up.
Even though we have received our matching grant from Richard Driehaus, I have over 100 requests that have been waiting for help for months. My heart breaks to think that there are more people in situations like this who are waiting and we haven't been able to help them.
I felt the necessity to make a phone call to one of our loyal supporters, Bill McEssy, who donates funds every year from his six Walworth County McDonald's.
"Tell me what you need," was his reply.
I gave him the total and he said he would bring me a check.
We have allowed this family to live a much better life now. The children are being much more carefree-especially the oldest one-knowing that there are good, generous people who care enough to reach out and help. There are so many others out there who need our help. Please, whatever you can do to help, please care and share. Every penny you give will go to help our fellow creations who are dealing with the pain, shame and sadness of poverty.
Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
Sept. 14-Big Apple Bagels in Lake Geneva will donate 10 percent of all sales to The Time is Now. Please sign up for the We Care Program at Pick 'N Save. A percentage of each purchase goes directly to The Time is Now to Help when you designate account number 832410 on your Advantage Plus Savers Club Card.
A special thank you to: Bill McEssy, Richard and Jean Honeyager, J. and Karen Fritz, Geri and Al Hinton, Larry and Sandy Kulik, Tracy Cysewski, Tom and Diane Brauer, Donald and Jean Smith and all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help.
I also want to thank all of you for the many cards and notes in behalf of my beloved mother who has moved on to heaven. I cannot tell you how much it means to have so many of my loyal supporters acknowledge her importance in my life.
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