Archive | April, 2010

Passing Along a Thank You

23 Apr

Jan (not her real name) is a Christian Help client whom we’ve helped just a few times over the past several years, but two days ago she called asking for more significant help.  I stopped by her home yesterday to drop off groceries and to verify the seriousness of the situation. 

Jan is a senior citizen who owed nearly $1000 on back electric bills, and the electric company was about the turn off her power.  What makes this more serious is that Jan needs breathing treatments, using a machine with an electric motor, 4 or 5 times per day.  The electric company was aware of this and told our Sr. Therese on the phone that they did indeed have her “flagged” in their system as needing electricity for “life support” reasons, but that they still intended to turn off the power if the bill was not paid up. 

Jan also explained to Sr. Therese that she was down to eating bread and butter for her meals.  Jan’s income is less than $700 per month in SSI, and about $140 per month in food stamps. 

It was clear to me, upon visiting, that the situation is just as serious as she suggested.  Jan washes her clothes on a washboard and air dries them, because she has no washing machine or dryer.  The only heat in her home provided all winter came from two portable electric space heaters.  Many of the windows are simply plexiglass held in with duct tape.  Her cielings are simply old, sagging particle board.  There are places where the walls meet the floor that you can see light from outside.

As I pulled the groceries out of the two boxes I brought, she almost gasped as she held each one.  “I haven’t seen this much food in a long time,” she said.  As I watched her put them away, I could see that her refrigerator and freezer were almost completely empty.

When I told Jan that Christian Help was willing to pay her entire back electric bill, she hugged me, then hugged me again several times.  She thanked me many times, too, and when I reminded her that the money wasn’t coming from me, but from some good people who had sent it so we could help others, she insisted that I pass along her thanks. 

So that goes to you, if you’re one of our supporters, from Jan, and from many others like her that we help here at Christian Help:  THANK YOU. 

What you send makes a difference, and if you weren’t sending it so generously, we would certainly not have been able to pay her entire electric bill.   We’ll be working with her more to try to work out some of the other problems and hopefully moving her into a more managable situation.  Keep Jan, and the rest of our clients, in your prayers.

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Helping where it’s needed

20 Apr

I got a call recently from a local clergyman, who was calling after a visit to one of the members of his congregation.  While visiting the home, he stopped in the bathroom, and his foot nearly went through the floor. 

Because his own church is not able to afford the expense of repairs that are needed in several places in the home (which is a trailer), he asked if we might be able to help.  We can and will — thanks to the gifts we receive from our friends and supporters.  And because of an upcoming visit from a Kentucky family who will volunteer time for a week (including a dad with carpentry skills!), we can also provide the labor at no expense. 

Help is on the way.

Getting people where they need to go!

1 Apr

Ruth, our transit service dispatcher, just brought me the monthly report for March.  Our service during the month included driving 10,686 miles on a total of 1,064 passenger trips! 

Ruth tells me those are the highest numbers for a month in the 10-year history of Christian Help’s transit service.

That’s two, and sometimes three, drivers going each weekday.  Most of those trips are people going to doctor’s offices, pharmacies, or grocery stores.  And in many cases, the people we took would most likely not have gotten to where they wanted to go without our service.

It’s all offered free of charge, the only on-demand transit system in Mingo County.  If you’re a supporter of Christian Help, this is the kind of work you’re helping to provide to people living in poverty here.  We thank you for it – as you can see, it makes a big difference.