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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