Job-finding help reunites family, restores hope for homeless mom
Several months ago I took in my two grandchildren. My daughter was raising her children in a terrible environment. I did not know they had been homeless for a few months because they lived out of state. They were going from shelter to shelter each night and my daughter was too proud to tell me.
My daughter used to be able to support her children on her own, but her ex-husband stopped paying child support and then she lost her job due to the economy. She tried so hard to find another job and track down the children’s father for child support, but neither were found.
After they lived in homeless shelters for a few months, she called me in desperation. She did not want to burden me with this, as she knows I am struggling to survive on my Social Security. I lived in a one bedroom apartment, but had to move into a larger apartment to take in my grandchildren. This was supposed to only be temporary, but my daughter is still living in a homeless shelter in another state. The last time we spoke she sounded hopeless. She cannot find a good job.
I am a month behind in my rent. I had to take my granddaughter to the dentist because she had a terrible toothache. She had two cavities. I could not deny dental care to my other grandchild, so I also brought her. I felt this was necessary for their well-being, but was not prepared for the cost.
I worry I am not capable of taking on this most important task of caring for my grandchildren, and do not want to end up in a homeless shelter with them. They need security in their lives right now. Could you please help us?
-- Caring, scared grandmother
I continue to receive many letters from caring grandparents raising their grandchildren. Ever since I first started The Time Is Now to Help, I have noticed the ever-increasing number of grandparents struggling to raise their grandchildren. God bless them for their love and strength to take over when their own children are incapable of providing the care and support necessary to raise children. I have seen grandparents in wheelchairs or those walking with walkers and canes. Some are middle aged, trying to raise young children, stepping in to fulfill a role usually reserved for much younger parents. Yet, most are very capable and loving.
When I met this grandmother, I noticed how she walked with a cane, and obviously struggled with her own disabilities. Yet she had an energy about her when the grandchildren were present. When the grandchildren were not present, I saw the fatigue, stress and worry the grandmother hid so well.
When I first met at the grandmother’s apartment, both grandchildren were present. The grandchildren were 10 and 13. The grandmother introduced me to both children and they very politely shook my hand.
Then the youngest grandchild said, “That is what grandma told me I am supposed to do when I meet someone.”
I told them, “Your grandma is right teaching you such good manners.” With that, they smiled and hugged their grandmother. I could see the bond they had formed in the last few months. I spoke with the children a little more and they briefly mentioned their not having their own home when living with their mother.
The older grandchild said, “We miss our mom, but living with grandma is so much better. We do not have to pack up every morning and move out. We do not have to wait in line for food or a bed every day.
“It was the worst when we got in line too late and had to sleep in a park huddled together to keep warm.”
I felt so sad listening to this young child telling me about the life of a homeless person in our great United States of America. I told the grandchild that I was there to help.
After the grandchildren left the room, the grandmother told me what little more she knew about her daughter and their financial problems. We also talked about the dental and other expenses of the children. She would need additional income to cover the many expenses of the children.
The grandmother had been rationing food and watching their utility usage. She had taken the children to clothing outreach centers for clothes and they had been to the food pantry. Her biggest fear was paying the past-due rent and maintaining her car for the many errands she now needed to do. I promised her we would help her with both the past-due rent and car repairs. We also provided some food and gas vouchers. Dental care was offered at a discount by a caring and sharing dentist.
When the children came back into the room, I noticed their shoes were in terrible shape and I offered to provide new shoes. I explained how The Time Is Now to Help is made possible by all of us coming together, caring and sharing to help those who have fallen on hard times. The children really understood the kindness all of you provide.
I contacted the mother of the children. She was terribly heartbroken and ashamed. After a few very extensive conversations, she agreed to come live with them.
Our networking worked to find her a job, not a great job, but a good job. After our initial help with rent, utilities, car repairs and assistance with a job, their budget is good. The mother is proud to be working, providing for her children and loving to be with her mother.
When I saw the grandmother, she walked to me, dropped her cane, hugged me with both arms and cried. I hugged her back, crying myself, thanking God we -- all of us -- were there to put their lives back together.
Together we make a big difference in the lives of many.
-- Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
Please help: Make checks payable to: The Time Is Now to Help, P.O. Box 70, Pell Lake, WI 53157. The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization licensed in Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax-deductible, itemized, thank-you receipt showing exactly what every penny of your donation provided for the poverty stricken.
A very special thank you to: Turner Broadcasting System, Bill and Lois McEssy/McDonald’s, Fox Charities, Kunes Country Auto Group, Greater Milwaukee Foundation Shapiro Family Fund, Clarence and Marilyn Schawk Family Foundation, Paul Ziegler and the Ziegler Charitable Foundation, Petco Foundation, Lake Geneva Petco, Martin Business Group, Engineered Reflector Products, Dick and Jean Honeyager, James and Marilyn Dyer, Martin O’Brien, Egg Harbor Cafe, The Bark Market, Lauderdale Lakes Yacht Club, Lake Geneva Lioness Club, James and Marilynn Dyer, Betty Doebert, Jack Mallory, Mary Willms, Serene Altman, Geri and James MacGregor, Frances Eddy, Linda Andersen, Laurie Holtan, John and Violet Hotzfeld, Geraldine Hinton, Gerald and Joyce Byers, Garrett and Lisa Sullivan, Donald and Serina Sovick, Sidney Johnson, Dennis and Carol Frederick, Julie Von Bergen (in memory of Ralph Davis) and Jody Cook, Craig Cook Jr. and Cara Cook (in memory of Craig Cook). W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the God-loving volunteers of all our food pantries, all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, and the businesses that allow our donation boxes. Anyone who would like a donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000.
We desperately need cars. Please donate a used car to help our fellow Americans get to work and to other daily necessities.