(Published Nov. 1, 2007, 1:44 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.
My mother encouraged me to write this letter to bring attention to a senior citizen who needs assistance.
When I went to visit a friend of mine I noticed an elderly man trying to work in his yard. When I was returning home several hours later I observed the same elderly man still working in his yard and I saw that he had not gotten very far. He was taking small steps, slowly bending, picking up debris off his grass and putting it in a pile.
The next day when I went to my friends’ I noticed the man was still working in his yard. This time I decided on the way to my friend’s house to help. I went up to the man and introduced myself. He looked at me and said, “Hi.” When I offered to help him, he said no, he could do it himself. I tried to help but he insisted that he did not want any help.
When I went past his house again several days later, I saw him still in his yard picking up sticks. I stopped to say hello. When he looked up and responded, I asked if I could give him a hand. He said, “Absolutely not. I can do it.”
Over time I have seen this man out in his yard several times. I have noticed he has become even slower but now I also see him crying. I stopped once and could see he was very embarrassed. He had been sniffling and rubbing his eyes. He said he had a cold but I have observed him on several occasions crying. I could see he was very sad. My mother said I should tell you about him and give you his address.
A concerned neighbor
The person who wrote the letter was correct; this man needed our help.
When I went to the house for the first time, it took several minutes before my knock was answered. I was very patient since I am used to waiting and giving plenty of time for those inside to answer. When the door opened I could see the man was very sad and he had been crying. I introduced myself and told him about The Time Is Now.
I could see there was a confused expression on his face as to why I was even there. He was not able to grasp that I was there to help. I told him that on many other occasions over the years help was given to our fellow Americans who needed a hand up. With that I could see some of his uneasiness lessening as to who I was, but his sadness remained unchanged.
I found out that he was the last surviving family member and having a very difficult time financially and had very little food. His electricity had been shut off but he claimed that he really did not need it and had gotten used to being without it.
His Social Security check, for some reason, had stopped several months before and he told me he thought that the government had run out of money because he had heard several years ago that Social Security was not going to go on forever.
It took some time to get him his checks back but they are coming once again. We had his electricity turned back on and paid some in advance. We actually took him shopping, which took a few hours because we had to coax him to buy everything that he needed. He told me he was accustomed to eating very little and this was more than generous. We continued shopping that day until his cart was full of nutritious food.
I cannot tell you how humbling it was to shop with this elderly man. When I finally persuaded him to tell me an item that he particularly liked, he slipped and told me, “I haven’t tasted that in a few years.”
“Where are we living?” I thought to myself. “Why is this man--who worked at the same job for 46 years--being deprived of a good meal at his age?”
“Why didn’t you let the young man help you?” I asked him.
“It would be good for him and would have made him happy,” he responded. “I would have felt guilty if I could not offer to pay him something. I knew all I had in the house was 86 cents and what kind of pay is that for a young man?”
I said that the young man was not expecting anything. He was offering to help out of the goodness of his heart. I then told him he was the one who wrote the letter asking for someone to help him.
“You mean that young man told you about me?” I responded that he was. Then he said, “I wondered who had told you about me.”
Together we have networked several people who check in on this man regularly. They bring him items and also an occasional homemade dinner. The man is such a different person now. In fact he lets the young man and a few of his friends clean up his yard when needed. He understands now that it feels good to help others. He also knows now that he is not alone.
Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
A special thank you to: Glenn and Jeanne Dyer, Bill and Lois McEssy, Richard and Jean Honeyager, Phil and Joan Parisi, Jeff Jacobson, Doug and Jean Chase, N. Bidwill, S. Thiele, Drs. Scot and Mona Hodkiewicz, Gary and Carol Marvin, Joyce and John Kirkwood, James and Janice Batten and J. Palmbach and J. Lessor.
Content may not be published, broadcast, re-distributed or re-written.