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Smoking grandmother, lost job too much to handle

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March 26, 2013 | 03:01 PM
Dear W.C.,

My husband and I are parents to two beautiful children. I worked part time throughout my last pregnancy.

My husband lost his job last year and just recently got another job, but for much lower pay. It has been a real struggle and we fell behind in our bills. Our 1-year-old son was born with congenital problems that required several surgeries. The medical bills are devastating to us financially.

We were evicted and are now living in my mother's apartment sharing one bedroom. This is not a good environment for my children because my mother smokes and drinks. She can be verbally abusive to all of us, including the children, making our situation even worse. We really need to get our children out of here but our only option at this point would be living in our car.

We need your help getting our family into safe affordable housing. Please help us.

Family in need of safe shelter

Dear readers,

Over the many years of my visits I have come across several children dying from cancer caused by second hand smoke.

What many parents do not understand are how dangerous and devastating the carcinogens, the cancer causing agents, are to children.

When a cigarette is smoked indoors, the carcinogens remain on furniture, walls, ceilings, window coverings, carpets, etc., for days after that cigarette is extinguished. These cancer causing substances are lethal to the developing immune systems of children. Chronic coughs, asthma, ear infections, and cancer have all been linked to exposure to second hand smoke.

I remember an 11-year-old child, bald and weak from enduring massive doses of chemotherapy, looking out a window watching the healthy children play outside. The heart breaking question this child asked their mother was, "Mom, why am I dying?"

Not one doctor told these parents to not smoke indoors. If you do smoke I always advise people to quit. If you can't quit for yourself and your loved ones, please do not smoke indoors where others will be exposed to the carcinogens.

Just thinking about that grandmother being so selfish as to smoke around young children, especially one that had fought so hard to overcome health problems, made me upset and sad.

Being nearly homeless with two small children is a real hardship. To also subject your children to the health hazards of second hand smoke and verbal abuse is not a good environment.

I contacted the mother but she only had a few minutes left on her phone. We agreed to meet right away at a public location.

I met the husband and wife in a restaurant. We met and I told them to order something to eat. We immediately got to work on their financial problems.

The father's job loss, combined with the mothers scarce hours, along with overwhelming hospital bills, caused their homelessness and move into the mothers one bedroom apartment.

The rent at the house they were renting was much higher than they could afford with their present job situation and mounting health care costs. I had a few rentals in mind that would be much more affordable for this family. I went over their outstanding bills and what they would be able to afford going forward.

The father needed to continue to look for a higher paying job. They could not count on the mother contributing to the finances as long as she was needed to care for the child with health care needs.

The parents informed me their child had his final surgery and should be fine after this procedure. They were hopeful and positive about the toddler's future health.

What they were not hopeful and positive about was living with the grandmother.

The mother said she had asked her several times if she could smoke outside for the health of the children, but she refused.

She said she drank nightly and became very verbally abusive when she did. The children were afraid of her and cried every night they spent there. This was a very negative environment for these children and their parents.

After looking over their budget I came up with a plan for them going forward.

I had a two-bedroom apartment in mind that was very inexpensive, in a clean environment and included heat. The apartment was available for immediate occupancy.

I called their previous landlord. He stated they were excellent tenants and always paid on time until the father lost his job.

The husband and wife looked at each other and said, "We can't afford this now." I asked them why they could not and they replied, "We do not have the first month's rent and security deposit."

I asked them what they thought The Time Is Now to Help did for people. The wife said, "I thought you counsel people on how to live on a budget and help them find rentals." I smiled at her and said, "Well, we do that, but we also help you get back on your feet by providing the financial assistance you need, too."

The wife said, "You mean you will help us with our rent?" I nodded my head yes and she burst into tears.

She said, "You have no idea how much it would mean to us to have our children somewhere where they feel safe and loved. Where they can breath and smile again."

I questioned the father on his work skills. At the end he told me, "I just need a chance for a decent job. I will work very hard. I will be at work early, I will work late. I will prove to any employer that I will devote myself. I love my family and I will work hard for them. I just need a chance."

When I looked the man in the face I could see he was being sincere. I made a call to a friend. They offered a job beginning the next day. The man hugged his wife and began to cry, saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The following day we had this family moving into their new apartment. While it was small, it was clean and healthy and within their budget.

They acted like it was a palace as they walked around their new home. The rent and security deposit were paid to help them get caught up on their finances. We also paid their utilities up to date.

Even their refrigerator and cabinets were stocked with food by our volunteers.

Our help is desperately needed for those suffering in the pains of poverty. I thank all of "you" for caring and sharing. Together we will continue our good works of compassion for our fellow creations. While some say the economy is improving there is still a long recovery for our fellow Americans.

Together we will continue to remove the pains and suffering of poverty.

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 the states of Wisconsin and Illinois.

You will receive a tax deductible, itemized thank you receipt showing how your donation provided assistance for the poverty stricken.

A very special thank you:

The Summertime Foundation, The Rhoades Foundation, Melita Grunow, The Petco Foundation, Lake Geneva Petco, Kunes' Country Auto Group, ITW Foundation, Katie Alder, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Martin Business Group, Carolyn May Essel, The Brower Family, Anthony and Mary Hauet, Kathryn Janisch, George and Lauretta Clettenberg, Russell and Jenevie Jensen, Frank and Ann Huml, Sylvester and Virginina Seick, Lauren Grady, Victoria Wertz, Barbara Spiegelhoff, Robert and Patricia Host, Michael Glass, 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.


Melita Grunow in memory of her husband Bill Grunow. Val Liechty in memory of her brother Bill Grunow. James and Sharon Vande Sand in memory of Jody Betts.

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 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. Look for the American flags.

We desperately need cars:

Please donate a used car to help our fellow Americans get to work and other daily necessities.

Please visit:



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