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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Time is Now

Shame keeps mom from asking for help

Send your donation to: The Time Is Now to Help, PO Box 70, Pell Lake, WI 53157

www.timeisnowtohelp.org

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.

Dear Readers,

I received a letter from a very caring person requesting that we look in on someone. The request brought our attention to a single mother raising three children. The third child had been born in need of multiple surgeries and the alcoholic father, with the feeble excuse that he was unable to cope with that much responsibility, left never to be heard from again.

This child was born with a disfiguring complication and had to endure multiple operations for the first three years of her life. The mother, needing to stay home to care for the little child recovering from the operations, is receiving Social Security/Disability. It is barely enough to get by on and when special medications were needed the mother would go without eating.

When I first met the mother I could see she was very pale and weak. I questioned if she ever went to see a doctor herself. She said she did not have time. I asked her if her child's doctor had mentioned anything to her about her thin, pale condition. She told me the doctor's reply was, "You need to take care of yourself."

I asked if she had ever mentioned to the doctors that she ran short every month and that you did not have enough food.

"No, I was too embarrassed," she told me.

This same pride was apparent when the mother went to get food from the local food pantry. She never truthfully told them how dire her situation was, so she was given a limited number of items to bring home. Maybe they thought she should go get a job. She would leave with only a handful of items and for a mother with three children that is not nearly enough.

"Why didn't you tell them your situation?" I asked again.

She said they didn't seem like they were interested.

"Of course they are," I said. "That's why they are at the food pantry. They are volunteering; they are not getting paid."

"I just felt so ashamed going there," she said.

I asked if she felt ashamed that the Time is Now was bringing help. She replied that I made her feel different. She told me that when she first asked me why I wanted to help and I told her how I had grown up in poverty, she knew that I understood.

When I told her about my mother's pride in not telling anyone and how we often went hungry because of that pride, she understood how her own pride was standing in the way of receiving help for her children. Anyone who is interfacing with the situation of poverty or homelessness needs to have heartfelt understanding of what these people are going through beyond the immediate obvious needs.

I could see that even though they were living with the stress of poverty, they were close to each other and close to God. The first time I met them, even as desperately hungry as they were, they took the time to hold hands and say a prayer of thanks to the lord for the food we had brought to them. How many blessings do all of us have that we do not take the time to thank God for?

"I have been blessed with so much," the landlord said when I spoke with him. "I don't need all that rent money."

The landlord never met all the children, so I asked the mother if we could come to visit. This was before we had done anything for the family other than bringing some food. After we visited, the landlord began to cry as soon as we got out the door.

"I didn't know. I didn't know," he kept repeating.

He has since made some improvements to the rental and reduced the rent. Thanks to an angel of a neighbor bringing this family to our attention, help was finally given.

The mother now is much healthier, much stronger and much more capable of caring for her three children. The major amount of stress she was carrying with her is reduced because their budget is within their means. The new beds, the new kitchen table, the matching utensils to eat with---as low cost as they were---were better than the bent and mismatched ones they had before.

Health and happiness,

God bless everyone,

WC

A special thank you to: J.D. Development, MLH, Bill and Lois McEssy, Tom and Kathleen Murray, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Jay Ieronimo, Steve and Catherine Boho, Geneva Lake Development Corp., The Highlands of Geneva Crossing Emily Fund, Marshal and Susan Ketchpaw, Donald and Gladys Keith, John and Sally Dicmas, Marietta Voss, Gary and Carol Marvin and Dale and Eileen Grzenia.

J.D. Development $25,000 Matching Grant: Please take advantage of this opportunity to double your donation. Every dollar you donate will be matched by the J.D. Development Matching Grant.

Needed cars: Please consider helping someone in need of a car in order to get to work and support their family. Instead of trading in a car, donate it to the Time Is Now To Help and receive a tax deduction.

ooo

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