Financial help gives struggling young family hope for healthier future
Could you please check on a family that attends the school where I work? I am very concerned for their well-being. They have three children, all on the free lunch program. The mother has been ill and the father is out of work.
I have noticed the children are often dressed in clothing that is too small and their shoes are very worn. At least one of the children had no jacket to wear at recess. They also are extraordinarily hungry for their school meals.
Could you please contact this family? My instinct tells me they are suffering and struggling in poverty.
-- Concerned adult
I contacted the woman who wrote this letter and she provided me with the information to contact the family directly. I thanked her for being an observant, caring and sharing fellow American.
I went directly to the address the letter writer had given me. It was a very run-down house. The windows had taped plastic over the broken panes and the roof was in very poor condition. I knew there had to be mold and water problems.
Just when I was getting out of my car, a man came out the door and asked who I was. He thought I was a bill collector or there to repossess their car. I showed my identification and explained about The Time Is Now to Help. He looked very embarrassed when he heard this, but I reassured him there was nothing about which to be embarrassed. It was only he and I there talking about their situation.
He told me about his wife being sick for the past few years. She had a heart condition made much worse during her previous pregnancy. Prior to the pregnancy, she was able to work and care for their three children. Now she was not able to do these things. The husband told me she always told him she felt like such a burden and was very depressed about her inability to do more. Since they did not have health insurance, the medical bills were astronomical. He said they were making monthly payments that now were so big they could not afford their utilities or car payments.
He asked me to come inside and meet his wife. When we went inside, the wife was asleep on the couch. The husband said she often slept during the day because she had constant fatigue. He told me the only thing they could do for her was prescription drugs that were so expensive they had to give up other expenses to purchase them.
I asked the husband about his job search. He said he had lost his job several months ago. He had been doing odd jobs just to get by.
“It has been real hard watching my wife become sicker and sicker and I can’t even earn enough to take care of my family,” he said.
With that, I saw the tears of frustration and pain in his eyes.
I took a look around the nearly empty kitchen cabinets. The house was also pretty empty of furniture. The father said they had sold a lot of their belongings since he was out of work. Their medical expenses over the past three years had really driven this family into poverty.
We went over their budget. They were one month behind in rent and two months behind in utilities. They were in need of food. After we spoke for some time, the wife woke up. The husband went to her, helped her to sit up and introduced me. She was embarrassed as well. She apologized for sleeping while she had a guest. I told her it was perfectly fine.
The father told me about several job prospects. He was going for interviews the following week. He also said one of the jobs would enable his family to get back on track financially.
I reviewed the budget with the husband and wife. First they needed to inform the medical bill collectors of their situation. Rent, utilities and food for the well-being of the family would be first. They would have to relocate. The house they were renting was a health hazard with all the mold. Also the utility bills would be much lower in an apartment or better-constructed building.
I confronted the landlord about the condemned house. The landlord agreed to a few hundred dollars and broke their lease, forgiving the balance of the rent. We brought their utilities up to date as they would follow to the new location. We also provided them with food, clothing for the children and used furniture, at no cost from Chris Ann’s Resale, for their apartment.
I stopped in to see them a month after they moved into their newer rental. This time the mother was in much better health. The father had been working at his new full-time job. It is amazing when the financial stress is removed and your belief in God sees you through, how life can be restored.
Once again, together, we make our world a better place doing God’s good works. Thank you for caring and sharing.
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: Geneva National, Mark and Natalie Reno, Walworth/Fontana Rotary Foundation, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Kunes Country Auto Group, James and Lynne Newman Foundation, Paul Ziegler/Ziegler Charitable Foundation, Badger Precision Spring employees, Jennifer Olomon, Jackie Hennerley, Albert and Ellen Burnell, Dennis and Jeanne Ludwig, William and Jean Isaacson, Steve Thornton, Roger and Elizabeth Lisenby, Donald and Emily Henderson, Dorothy Tookey, John and Rita Race, David and Janice Powell, Donald and Anne Ogne, Larry and Verna Lee Magee, Geri Hinton (in memory of members of the Kurland family), Ruth Ann Beyers (in memory of Allyn and Jane Palmer), W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the 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 Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000.