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Electric bill too much to handle

August 07, 2012 | 05:05 PM
Dear W.C.,

I am a handicapped senior citizen trying to get by independently.

Lately things have been difficult due to an extra high electric bill and a medical expense. I like to live on my own and take pride in being able to care for myself. The heat this summer made it necessary for me to run the air-conditioning much more than usual. I have a heart condition that makes it hard for me to tolerate the heat and humidity.

As the weather forecast reported one hot day after another, I felt more and more worried about my electric bill. Sure enough, when it arrived it was much more than I could pay. I did not have it on a budget plan as in the past I never had to run the air-conditioning like this summer and I am always careful with my lights.

Could you please help me with this utility bill?

Handicapped senior

Dear readers,

This summer's heat and drought was financially devastating for our already stressed senior citizens, handicapped, and farmers. The high utility bills are one of the areas they were hit hard as well.

Many of our seniors and handicapped do not even turn on their air-conditioning due to the guaranteed high utility costs. This year it became a medical necessity for many. If you are struggling with a medical condition, heart disease, COPD, diabetes, or even in good health, excessive heat can become life threatening.

Thank God we have finally found some relief from the heat going forward. Now all that remains are the utility disconnection notices due to unbelievably high bills.

This senior citizen woman was just getting by before the high utility bill. She carefully budgeted her fixed income each month, living on cereal if necessary, just so she could continue to live independently.

I knocked on the door of a very small house. After a few minutes it was answered by an elderly woman in a wheelchair. After I introduced myself and showed some identification, she invited me inside. The house was extremely small and sparsely furnished. When I looked around the bare interior the senior woman seemed to know what I was thinking and said there was no room for furnishings due to her wheelchair.

The rooms were so small you would not be able to fit both furniture and be able to maneuver a wheelchair.

She said, "Besides I am the only one here. I do not need a place for company to sit. I do not have any family or friends who visit."

At that point I asked her about her family. We talked for a while. She told me she had become handicapped as a teenager when she had been hit by a car that jumped the curb and hit her on the sidewalk. She had to learn how to live in a wheelchair, at a time when most people in her condition were living in institutions.

Her mother and father wanted her to live a full life and refused to put her there. They taught her how to care for herself and prepared her for the day when they would no longer be there to care for her. She never married and lived with her parents until they passed away 30 years ago. The house she lived in was the house she lived in her whole life.

She took me on a tour of her four room house. It was neat but in need of a few minor repairs. I made notes about the leaking faucet and running toilet. The torn screens that would let in bugs and a broken light. I knew these were minor things we could do to help this senior woman who would be unable to complete such tasks.

Then I asked to speak to her about her budget. She was very organized and knew where each penny was spent. She showed me the electric bill that was much more than she could afford. I gave her some suggestions for other services available to her. She listened but I could see the familiar stubborn look on her face. I told her it was OK for her to receive assistance, that she should ask for some of these things in order to remain independent.

She got tears in her eyes when she told me, "I do not want to be a burden on anyone. I am embarrassed to ask The Time Is Now to Help, and our government." I reassured her that she was not taking advantage, she needed this help to survive. She finally agreed to call the agencies I provided her with. I would follow up.

The Time Is Now to Help paid this very deserving senior's utility bill and paid some into the future, so she would not be averse to running her air-conditioning if needed. We provided her with nutritious food and much needed toiletry products. We had a volunteer at her house completing the list of minor repairs I gave them, along with a few others they spotted while there. We also replaced her old, barely running refrigerator with a more efficient model.

My dear friends, we are so blessed to be a part of easing the pains of poverty for our fellow creations. Thank you and God bless each and every one of you for caring and sharing. Don't forget the Richard H. Driehaus $30,000 Matching Grant. Every dollar you donate will be matched by another, doubling your donation.

Once again, together we make our world a better place doing God's good works.

Health and Happiness, God Bless Everyone, W.C./Sal

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 the states of 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: Mark and Natalie Reno, Kunes' Country Auto Group, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Fairfield Grange No. 679, Jack Potosnyak, Aurora Health Care Employee Partnership Campaign, Casey Mullen, Mary Cucchi, Melody Friedewald, Heidi Hall, Gene Krauklis, Judith Mackessy, Jeanne Mc Donald, Diana Michalek, John and Violet Hotzfeld, Patricia Shostack, Roland and Diane Schroeder, Jay and Karin Hiller, Claudia Garber, Margarie Egger, William and Dorothy Tookey, Dusty Hudgins, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the God loving volunteers of all our caring 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.

Honoraries: Paula and Bill McMenamin, Kathy Rodgers and AGF Investments in honor of Richard H. Driehaus' birthday.

Desmond and Joan Johnson in honor of June Nebel's 90th Birthday.

Memorials: Charles and Nancy Castelein in memory of Keith Krause.

Chris Ann's Resale Shop: I will continue to ask Chris Ann's Resale shop for furniture and household necessities to help our poverty stricken fellow Americans. If you have anything you would like to donate to Chris's shop please call (262)348-9088. They are located at 406 Hwy. 120 North, Lake Geneva, WI, in the old Floor Store building across from the Shell gas station and Next Door Pub.

We Desperately Need Cars: Please donate a used car to help our fellow American's get to work and other daily necessities.

Goodsearch for The Time Is Now: Search the web with www.goodsearch.com and help to raise funds for The Time Is Now to Help. Just make www.goodsearch.com your homepage and pick The Time Is Now to Help as your charity.

Please visit: www.timeisnowtohelp.org


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