(Published Dec. 6, 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.
I have an employee who desperately needs a car. I often noticed her having to rest before she even started working for the day.
I approached her and suggested she get more sleep at night in order to arrive at work in the morning fresh and ready to go. She immediately stood up and said, "Yes, I need to get more rest. I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry; this is on your own time since it is not even starting time yet," I told her. "I just think it is important to be bright-eyed and ready to greet the customers."
She again nodded and agreed.
I noticed after this she was not sitting down anymore prior to starting time, but did not show up until a few minutes before starting time. I thought she took it upon herself to get a little more sleep in the morning. She was still getting to work on time so I was not concerned. Then a few days later I found out that she actually had been sitting outside resting. And as the weather got cooler, she was resting in the bathroom before work.
I discovered this much-needed rest was because she had been walking to work over four miles each direction. Her car had broken down for the last time and it was irreparable. I felt so ashamed that I was giving constructive criticism about sleep when this woman was exhausted from her walk to work.
She is married but her husband needs the car for his long commute to work and due to their varied work schedules he is unable to drive her.
Is it possible to look into this to see if she might get help?
A concerned co-worker
Everyone's initial thought may be that two people are working, why aren't they able to afford two cars. Many people have two heads of the household and it is very commonplace these days. Especially with the lack of well-paying job opportunities, two paychecks are necessary. This case was no different.
On my first contact with the family they were surprised and confused that someone was asking if they needed help with transportation. They were not even aware that the Time is Now is available to help not only to provide food, shelter and utility assistance, but other daily necessities, including a used car.
After they realized that there is a group of us willing to help, they warmly accepted my presence and my questions. As they very honestly disclosed their financial situation, their meager income from two very nominal-paying jobs, and their budget, I could see how close to breaking even they were each month.
If they had any expenses out of the ordinary, such as doctor visits, medications, glasses, automobile repairs, school extracurricular activities, etc., their budget would fall behind. With no extra expenses, they would fall $12 behind each month.
When I asked how long the mother had been walking to work, she confessed to over four months. She told me she had to walk or her family would not eat, or worse, be evicted for not being able to pay the rent. The husband has a single-digit-paying job that he commutes to Illinois for. The mother has a job, which she loves, and after taxes there is just enough money to barely get by.
She told me that on her initial walk the first day she had to stop several times, since she was not in very good shape. It had taken her much longer than she thought and the first day she was late. Out of embarrassment, she would not tell her manager that she was walking to work. In fact when the manager was telling her to get more sleep to come in bright-eyed, she was too embarrassed to tell her manager that she had been walking to work.
The lady told me that after a period of time the cramps in her legs at work started to subside and also she was able to sleep again, because even the pain in her legs would keep her awake.
A wonderful husband and wife team, who have donated over five cars and many other necessities, gave this woman a car. We helped relocate her husband to another job closer to home. It does not pay any higher but the savings in gas and wear and tear on their other car will help their budget.
The last time I saw this family, the four of them were sitting in the used car they had received. They were very grateful. If you have a used car that you are thinking about trading in, please contact us.
Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
Help Needed: Day care needed for 18-month-old at child's home in Lake Geneva, three to four days a week, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 249-7000.
MLH $25,000 matching grant met! Together we have eased the pain and sorrow of the poverty-stricken. We will publicize where every penny of the $50,000 was spent after we finish utilizing the funds.
A special thank you to: MLH, Bill and Lois McEssy, Richard and Jean Honeyager, Gregg Kunes, Badger High School freshman class, Paul Ziegler, Anthony Condos, Ziegler Charitable Foundation, Dawn Hanna, Max Delung, Joseph and Linda Skopek, Joan Lenherr, Grant and Annamarie McMillin, Shawn and Donna McLafferty, Larry and Verna Magee, John Bollero Jr. and Robert Dodge.
Saturday, Dec. 15, BIll McEssy is donating all of his gross sales that day from six of his McDonald's locations. Please plan on visiting one and help us help others. The six McDonald's restaurants are: Lake Geneva, Lake Geneva Wal-Mart, Delavan, Elkhorn, East Troy and Burlington. McEssy is also donating the first $10,000 to the Walworth County Women and Children Advocacy Program, working to protect our women and children from abuse.
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