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Form Wealth Management

Raising grandson after his parents killed in car accident



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August 20, 2013 | 10:09 AM
Dear W.C.,

I am a 58-year-old woman. I am raising my 6-year-old grandson after his mother and father were killed in a car accident.

The reason I am writing your organization asking for help is because I had some unexpected expenses. Two months ago I had a very bad toothache. I tried to ignore it because I do not have dental insurance. After a few days it got so bad my face started to swell. I knew I couldn't ignore the pain or fever any longer.

I went to the emergency room and they told me I had a massive infection in my mouth. They said if I had waited any longer I could have died. I was in the hospital overnight and had to have oral surgery the following week after all the antibiotics. They made me set up a payment plan immediately even though I have no credit and do not have any extra money over what I earn and the small amount of assistance I receive for my grandson.

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I fell behind in my rent and utilities due to making the payments on these medical and dental bills. I also did not have any income while I was out sick because I had already used all my sick days when my grandson had caught the flu last spring. This whole financial mess has left me feeling sick inside every day.

Worried grandma

Dear readers,

I called the grandma at the work number she provided. She answered the phone saying the name of the store she worked at. 

She apologized for giving me that number, but explained she did not have a cell phone. After we spoke for a few minutes I set up a visit at her apartment that evening after she was off work. 

When I arrived at the apartment I could hear the grandma and grandson talking inside. When I knocked on the door I heard the grandson ask in an excited voice, "Is that the man you asked to visit us grandma?" I heard her patiently answer, "Well, let's go see." 

The door was answered and after introducing myself, and showing my identification, they both invited me inside. The apartment was on the first floor in a building I have not been in before.

The grandmother said she had moved there when her grandson moved in, as she had been living in a one bedroom apartment. The grandmother said the rent was slightly more for the two bedroom but she had been required to move in order to gain custody. The grandmother gave me a short tour around the small apartment. The grandson proudly showed me his "own" room. 

He said, "I never had a room or a bed before I lived with grandma. I used to sleep on the floor." The grandmother was obviously pained hearing the lifestyle her grandson had been forced to live in and said, "You will never sleep on a floor again, my little man."

The grandson hugged his grandmother's legs and smiled. I noted the tears in the grandmother's eyes as he did this. 

The grandma asked the grandson if he would like to watch some TV while we talked about grown-up stuff. The grandson said, "Grandma, I thought I wasn't allowed to watch TV at night anymore?" 

The grandma gave him a kiss and said, "Just this one time."

The grandson was very happy to get some TV time. 

The grandma told me how she was trying to limit the grandson's TV time due to his being behind in his reading skills and math. She said they spend a lot of time at the library and reading. 

She said softly, "My son and his wife were not good parents to him. They were too engrossed in their addictions to even feed and bathe him. I tried several times to have him removed from their home, but they always managed to pull themselves together just enough to keep custody." 

We spoke some more about the life the young boy had lived. The grandmother was very upset even talking about it. She told me how for the first two weeks her grandson had hid food in his room, a sign he had suffered hunger in the past.

She told me how she had to explain to him over and over that she would make sure he always had enough food to eat. 

With that she began to cry as she said, "And here I am asking for help so he does not have to be hungry while living with me."

I asked if I could look around her kitchen. She looked embarrassed as she said, "Don't expect to see much food. We have been eating very cheaply lately." I looked around her small kitchen and confirmed what she had said. There was not any excess food to be found.

It really saddens me to think that it has become a luxury for most of our fellow creations to obtain proper food, dental care ...

The grandmother showed me all her bills and invoices to verify her need. She was so worried about ruining her credit by not paying the medical bills, she had nearly become homeless. 

She knew if she was evicted she would lose custody of her grandson as well. She was very stressed by the financial mess she was in. I asked if she had called the medical bills to see if they could be reduced. She said she had not as she was afraid of their anger over her payments being late. I suggested we call right now while I sat with her. 

She looked skeptical but went along with my suggestion. I told her to tell them about her financial situation and ask them if they could reduce her balance. She was surprised after talking with them they did just that. They not only reduced her balance owed, they lowered her payments. She was so grateful for just this one tip.

Now we went over the rest of her budget. 

We helped her bring her rent and utilities up to date. We also paid the remaining balance on her dentist bill after I talked to the dentist. This made her budget manageable going forward. The grandmother worked fulltime and sometimes was able to bring her grandson to work with her, a big benefit as she did not have to pay for child care. On other days she traded child care duties with a neighbor that had a child nearly the same age as her grandson. I could see they lived very frugally, yet the grandson had everything he needed to thrive in a healthy environment. 

After we finished going over the budget and assistance, the grandmother asked if I would pray with them. She asked her grandson to turn off the TV and come say a prayer with us.

He very obediently came to sit next to his grandmother. The grandmother led us in a prayer, thanking God for leading us to them. The grandson added at the end, "And thank you Jesus for giving my grandma a friend." We all said together, "Amen." 

Together, we will continue to replace the fear, pain and suffering of poverty, with compassion, healing, caring and sharing with our hearts to change lives. Thank you for helping us achieve God's good works for those in desperate need.

Health and happiness,

God bless everyone,

W.C./Sal

Mailing address

Make checks payable to:

The Time Is Now to Help

P.O. Box 1

Lake Geneva, WI 53147

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 special thank you

Fox Charities, Lake Geneva School of Cooking, Chef John Bogan, Pentair Foundation, The Summertime Foundation, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Lake Geneva Area Realty, Interstate Insurance Group, Therese Kuban, Clarence and Marilyn Schawk, Martin Group, John Stensland and Family, Peterson Drywall, Lake Geneva Opticians, Marvin and Audrey Hersko, Arlene Clausen, Michael Glass, Anna Kiel, Sid and Patty Johnson, James and Janice Batten, Louise and Clifford Morris, Margaret Plevak, Gregory Swanson, Becky Feffer, 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

Kathy Rodgers in honor of Richard Driehaus' Birthday.

Memorials

Les and Pauline Malsch in memory of their son Mark Malsch. Les and Pauline Malsch in memory of Keith Eytcheson, Jr., Jay Smarslik and Jean Watts.

Furniture Donations

Please contact us direct for any furniture, appliance or any item donations. We are no longer collecting or distributing these items through Chris Ann's Resale Shop. While we wish Chris Ann the best, we are no longer offering charitable donation receipts at her store. My repeated attempts to work with Chris Ann regarding her pricing, offering free items for the handicapped, and other store suggestions, has left me unable to continue our mission together.

If you would like to donate your items to The Time Is Now to Help please email info@timeisnowtohelp.org, message us on Facebook.com/thetimeisnowtohelp or call (262) 249-7000. Thank you.

Please visit

www.timeisnowtohelp.org

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