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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Time is Now: Electricity cut-off around the corner

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:

It has been said this has been the worst winter in 29 years--and that was at the end of January. We then had to endure the frigid cold, snowstorms and ice of February and March. Many of us had one thing on our minds and that was keeping warm.

Even though it is the winter and utilities cannot be disconnected from Nov. 1-April 15, those who know they do not have the funds to pay their extremely high bills live in a constant state of fear.

We may occasionally wonder or even worry about a costly utility bill, but those who cannot afford any increase in their utility bills live in dread knowing they will not be able to pay their utilities. Many sleep in their coats or even wear their coats all day in their homes in order to keep their heat bill lower. Even a small home that is not energy efficient can have an exceedingly high utility bill.

When I visit people and see them going about their daily lives in their homes with their coats on it is very heartbreaking. This has become common practice in many American homes. We often talk about 40 million people going to bed hungry every night. There is a lot more that comes with living in poverty at that level, and we have our share of fellow Americans living in the fear and pain of poverty.

I have seen many huddled around one light trying to read or do homework, trying to keep their electric costs down.

These are the same people who maybe a few winters ago, or even last winter, were able to get by financially. Our economy is suffering to the point that many are talking about being in a recession. The stock market and the housing market have been hit hard by the mortgage and bank scandals. Foreclosures are at an all-time high.

Many people took a chance getting out of their rentals and tried to make it in their own home. The mortgage companies offered them loans, understanding they could not even afford a down payment, in order to make their commissions and financing fees. Our poverty-stricken were too numerous before this financial crisis and the foreclosures have just added additional people in desperate need.

The cost of living has risen for everyone. Gasoline, food, utilities, everything is going up and wages are going down--meaning our fellow Americans are financially going down.

Thank God we were there to help. The following is a breakdown of where every penny went of the JD Development $25,000 Matching Grant plus the $25,000 in individual donations to make that match, for a total of $50,000:

Electric: $4,900

Gas: $4,001

Telephone: $265

Water: $200

Septic system: $125

Rent: $9,616. We have eased the pain and suffering of homelessness. These people were so grateful that we supplied rent monies enabling them to keep a roof over their heads and prevented them from becoming homeless.

Could you imagine the fear in the back of your mind once you have been evicted? How are you going to keep your family safe? I have found some too late; they were already evicted and living in their old cars.

We hear about it every day, families living in their cars for months with no one knowing. You think it is happening somewhere else? We are experiencing it here.

Clothing: $1,500. Most of these funds were emergency clothes. I could not wait another day to cloth the needy. Many children needed clothing for school the very next day and adults needed proper clothing for work.

Household necessities: $4,101. I found many in need of eating utensils, dishes, pots, pans, small appliances, cleaning supplies, buckets, mops, sheets, towels, etc.

Auto assistance: $4,026. During this time we gave four cars to families in need and had other repair work done. Transportation is crucial to get people to work, doctor appointments, school, food shopping, etc.

Food: $20,000. Many were completely out of food. I remember the weeks that grew into months when my mother and I survived on cereal and water or noodles and butter. There are still people living like that now. You live with the fear and the constant pain of hunger.

Toiletries: $1,265. Things as simple as toothbrushes, toothpaste and toilet paper are desperately needed. Yes, I still find people who do not have any toilet paper. Yes, there are children who do not have a decent toothbrush, soap, shampoo or tissues when they have a cold.

Every penny you give, every cent, as shown here, goes to the poverty-stricken.

I'll leave everyone with this image. A mother held out a roll of toilet paper saying, "Look what we got!" The 4-year-old child snatched it from her hands and hurriedly walked to the bathroom. The mother and her other child turned and looked at me with embarrassed smiles. I also started to smile but quickly stopped as I noticed the mother start to cry as she reached over to her other child and held her tight. These are the images that are left in my heart and mind every day.

Thank you for helping.
Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
WC

A special thank you to: J.D. Development, MLH, Bill and Lois McEssy, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Jay Ieronimo, Steve and Catherine Boho, Clarence and Marilyn Schawk, Rhoades Foundation, Paul Ziegler, Dorothy Heffernan, Harvey Peck, Carl and Shirley Jacobsen, Charles Munger, Steven and Susan Woodcock, John and Luann Brahm, Richard and Charlotte Carlson, Ron and Desiree Lipowski, Owen and Jeanne Widmayer, Mary Dunham and the Elkhorn Area High School Chamber Choir.

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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