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The Time is Now to Help

Senior couple lost everything in fire

Recent Community Living
September 01, 2010 | 08:04 AM
Dear W.C.,

My husband and I are senior citizens. We recently lost everything we own in a fire. We have been living in a motel until we find some place to move that we can afford. We are living on our Social Security and that is not enough to pay for a motel, food, medical expenses, and security deposit/rent for a place to live.

We lost everything we own, including clothing, furniture, and household necessities. The only thing we have left is our old car. Thank goodness we were visiting friends and had our old dog with us when the fire broke out. It terrifies me to think we could have all been caught in the fire.

We really need help with a security deposit. We have applied for assistance but are in a long line of people waiting for it to come through. It is hard enough being a senior citizen during these rough economic times, but I never thought we would lose everything we own. My husband has a heart condition and I have diabetes so this has not been easy on our health either.

Could you please help a down on their luck senior couple?

Dear Readers,

I admit I have a soft spot for senior citizens. Most every senior I meet is very honest. We are not usually dealing with drug addictions, neglected or abused children, and other problems in our society. They usually were hard-working members of our society, that are proud to be an American, and they hold the American dream of retiring some day in a country independent of global faults. That is why they or their ancestors immigrated to the U.S.A. Now in our country, it only takes one disaster or illness to put most seniors over their budget and in a downward spiral into poverty. It is distressing to me to find so many senior citizens living in such poor living conditions, extremely close to becoming homeless.

I knew this motel owner from past dealings and she has always had a big heart when it comes to impending homelessness. I arrived at the motel and knocked on the door. The senior couple invited me inside. They were very happy to see me and they both gave me a warm hug. I apologized I was not able to assist them sooner. I explained we were having problems keeping up with all the requests, due to the poor economy and lack of funding. They were very appreciative and told me to not apologize for something I could not control.

I sat at the table in their small room to talk. They explained how the fire had begun while they were not at home. There was an electrical problem in the mobile home they were living in. It was completely gone by the time they got home from visiting friends. All their mementos were lost as well as all their daily necessities. The dishes were ruined, the bed linens, mattress, couch, table, chairs, clothes, etc. If the items were not burned, they were full of smoke.

The wife told me they had two grown children that lived out of state. They could not ask them for help since they knew their children were struggling financially as well. They did want to move closer to their children though. After going over the idea they had to move out of state to live closer to their children, it seemed they had really thought this through. They had already found a reasonable senior citizen apartment complex that had availabilities. They just needed the funds to get there and first month's rent. They also needed a repair done to their car to make it safe enough for the trip.

The Time Is Now To Help assisted them with rent at the motel until the car repairs and moving arrangements were made. They did not have many belongings so everything would fit in their car. I also contacted the new apartment they would be moving into and arranged for a security deposit to be paid for them. When the car was fixed I surprised them with gift cards to a discount store in the area they were moving so they could purchase household necessities and clothing.

We said tearful farewells as they drove away. I called to speak to their daughter that lived close to their new apartment. She was so excited to hear from me and extremely grateful for the assistance we offered her senior parents. She explained she was a single mother and could not afford to leave her job and travel to help her parents. She said she had asked them for years to move closer so she could be there to help them when needed. They had always declined until the fire. She thanked everyone at The Time Is Now To Help for assisting her parents in their time of need. She had felt immense guilt over her inability to offer this help herself. I assured her that was what we were there for.

A week later I called to check on them. They were very happy with their new living arrangements. The daughter came by daily to check on them. Again they expressed a tearful thank you to everyone for changing their life from disaster to a new start. God Bless all of you for making our work possible.

I thank all of you for rising to the challenge of the Richard Driehaus Matching Grant. Together we make a tremendous difference, giving hope, compassion, and sustenance to our fellow creations.

Health & Happiness, God Bless Everyone, W.C.

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: Katie Alder, Dick & Jean Honeyager, Paul Ziegler, Martin Business Group, Don & Emily Henderson, Arlene Clausen, Larry & Vern Magee, Steve & Betty Thornton, Frances Flucke, Robert Dooley, Dean & Shirley Taylor, Michael & Sally Anne Chier, Geri Hinton, Margarie Egger, Fritz Kreiss, Elizabeth Wallace, Rosemarie Reiherzer, Jack & Barbara Rowe, Sylvester & Virginia Seick, Clifford & Louise Morris, John & Valerie Lincoln, Michael & Frances Ukropin, Ken & Nova Kyburz, David & Wallie Leitzke, Rich & Kay Butke, Michael Glass, Delores Olson, Martin O'Brien, Owen & Jeanne Widmayer, Delores Rich, Harley & Dorothy Kurtz in celebration of their 58th Wedding Anniversary, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, 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.

Memorials: The following donations were given in loving memory of Joyce Roche: Kathleen Roche, Jim & Margaret Durkin Roche, Country Fairway Condominium Assn., Ruth Stepenske, Daniel & Mary Abraham, Norma Odierno, Beatrice Schmitz, Richard & Lucille Miller, John & Ursula Grud and Thomas Roche.

Anna Marie & Edward Cygan Family in memory of Mrs. Jane Breen & her son Tom, and Mrs. Charlotte Sosnowski. Carol Hinners in memory of her husband Rich Hinners.

Please visit: www.timeisnowtohelp.org.

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