One of my coworkers was helped by The Time is Now to Help last year. She told me how you helped her catch up on her car payment and rent after her husband was sick and off work for a month. She told me about you after I told her how my husband and I have been struggling ever since the birth of our second child six months ago. She was born premature and has had many health problems.
I have had to take days off work to take her to Children’s Hospital for treatments, surgery, therapies and doctors’ appointments. My husband makes sure he never misses work unless it is very serious. I am an only child and lost my dad last year to cancer. My mom helps out with our baby when I am at work, because she is too frail for day care and we would not be able to afford her level of care anyway. She also watches our 10-year-old daughter after school on days that I work.
My husband was raised in the foster care system, so he has no family to turn to. We are behind in our utilities and car payment, due to my time off work, and the deductible and co-pays for our health insurance. We have never asked for help before, but we humbly ask for it now. The stress of everything is eating away at our health, as my husband was diagnosed with high blood pressure last month.
I pray you can help our family, as I worry constantly about my husband losing his car, as he needs it for work.
I contacted the mother who wrote this letter to set up a time to visit. With two working parents and a child with special needs, I knew I would need to make arrangements, as a surprise visit would be very difficult. In the past, I have attempted to visit some people multiple times before finding someone at home. With the amount of people waiting for our assistance, it is just more time effective to set up home checks in advance when providing assistance to working families or people with severe health problems.
After we spoke briefly on the phone, the woman was at work when I called, we scheduled my home visit for later that day after work. She added that her husband would be home at that time also. Before hanging up, I heard her burst into tears telling me how thankful she was to hear from The Time is Now to Help. I felt good, knowing we could help relieve that stress and fear of poverty that this woman was carrying with her every day.
Later, I arrived at the home the family rented, and knocked on the door. I could hear a baby crying and people talking inside. The door was opened by a woman holding a baby and a young girl stood behind her. The woman introduced herself and her two children to me. The baby was very small for six months old.
During our brief conversation on the phone the woman had shared some of the challenges their baby was confronting. She was a beautiful baby, and from the way the mother showed her to me proudly, I knew she was their gift from God. I talked to the older daughter briefly, asking about school and hobbies. She was shy at first, but warmed up once we talked a bit.
The mother invited me inside and then I was introduced to her husband, who had been in the kitchen. He confessed he had been doing a quick clean-up, due to my visit. We shook hands and laughed at his honesty. I assured them I was not there to judge their housekeeping skills, as I knew they lived very busy lives. Both the husband and wife looked relieved and admitted they struggled to keep up with everything beyond work and the medical needs of the baby.
After a brief tour, they invited me to sit in the living room. The husband took the baby from his wife and stood rocking her. He said: “She doesn’t let us sit much. She likes to be constantly rocked and soothed.”
The wife sat down with a sigh, and I could see the exhaustion on both parents’ faces. When I commented on that, the husband and wife both said they took turns caring for the baby all night long, making it hard to function some days. I reassured them this would get better with time as their baby matured and her health problems were resolved, or at least became easier to manage. The mother admitted the doctors had told them the same thing at their last visit, but they still struggled with nightly monitoring and had an upcoming surgery to get through.
As I knew their time would be limited, I asked about their present financial problems. The mother told me about her fluctuating work schedule and the patience her employer has shown with the amount of time she has had to take off. The mother had not been working full-time for the past year due to her high-risk pregnancy, and then the health needs of her premature baby, so she had not been eligible for paid leave or sick days.
The father said he had used all his sick and vacation days for the year in the first two months of their baby’s life. His employer had given him an extra two weeks paid time off, but now that was behind them, and they could not catch up on their overdue bills. The mother showed me the expensive hospital bills and co-pays they had been trying to keep up with. She showed me their overdue utility bills and car payment. They were two months behind in all bills, but it was enough that they would never be able to catch up.
The mother showed me the baby’s upcoming medical appointments on her calendar, and it was easy to see how difficult it would be for her to work full-time. This was not something she could ask her mother or a stranger to do for her. She needed to be there for these very important appointments with her special needs baby, and I wanted to make sure she could do that without overwhelming guilt or fear due to their financial situation.
Looking at their expenses, I made some suggestions on their budget and the payment of the medical bills that would help slightly. I asked about their food security, and the mother said the daughter was participating in the hot meal program at her school. She also said they had visited the food pantry several times over the past few months, but it was not always easy, due to work schedules and medical appointments. They also struggled with personal hygiene items, toiletries and diapers for the baby. We would provide gift cards for these items to make their lives a little easier, and to be sure they were eating good nutritious foods.
I spoke to the husband about his job. He had worked at his place of employment for several years, and it was a good fit. Even with the employer providing an extra two weeks of paid time off, I suggested he ask for a raise. If he was as good at his job as he told me, I felt he could be earning more than he was presently being paid. He had wanted to get a second job, but due to the needs of the children and trying to fit in the wife’s work schedule, I could see it would not be ideal at this time. A small raise would help this family considerably. Watching the two parents pass the baby back and forth between them as they both took turns comforting and caring for her, I could see they were both needed at home sometimes.
The woman admitted that her mother could only watch the children once or twice a week, due to how exhausting the care could be. Add in that around-the-clock medical care, as well as caring for another child and jobs, and you get an idea of the fatigue I observed in this mother and father.
The husband took me outside to show me their cars. One was the father’s vehicle, and it was used for his work transportation. This was the vehicle that was two months behind in payments. It was a good car, and they were so close to paying it off, I knew we should pay the overdue payments to prevent repossession, so he could maintain his employment. The mother’s car was older, but the husband said it was reliable, since he kept up with the maintenance on it himself.
They struggled to keep up with the gas for the repeated trips to Children’s Hospital by Milwaukee, so we would provide gas gift cards to help with that expense. I also told the husband we would not only pay his two overdue car payments, we would also pay the remaining three payments to pay off the car completely. This would help them considerably in their budget going forward.
I was moved when the husband broke down in tears. He had been strong when we were inside their home talking in front of his wife, but once he heard about how all of us together were going to help his family, he could not hold in his fears and worries any longer. The husband put his head down and tried to hide his tears, saying: “I’m so ashamed asking for help. I thought I could do this on my own, but it’s so hard.”
I patted the man’s back and reminded him he does not have to do this alone, that all of us are here together to help him get through the tough times. He shared how his whole life he had never had anyone to fall back on. He had a tough upbringing, being abandoned by his parents as a young child, and never getting out of the foster care system until he was 18. Everything he had achieved in his life was his own doing. I told him how now he had a whole community of people helping him and his family. This brought the first smile I had seen from this struggling father.
I said my goodbyes, as the baby was in need of care and their older daughter needed to get to bed soon. Before leaving, I quickly went over the list of assistance we would be providing, and this time the husband cried with his wife over the relief we would be sharing with them. They thanked us profusely for the relief of stress that this life-changing assistance would provide.
The husband and wife could let this burden of poverty be shared by many — the many caring and sharing donors who want to ease this burden for so many in our communities.
Thank you and God bless you for caring and sharing and easing the pains of poverty for not just this family, but many more fellow creations reaching out to us for assistance.
Over the past five years we have worked with the Family Foundation to alleviate poverty in our communities. Several hundred men, women, children, senior citizens, the handicapped and veterans have felt the relief of our caring and sharing assistance, thanks to the Family Foundation and all of you. It is a continuing effort that all of us can participate in together. The 2020 Family Foundation $40,000 Matching Grant opportunity is the perfect way for us to continue our goal of helping even more people in 2020. Please consider a donation at this time, knowing it will be matched dollar for dollar by the Family Foundation, doubling your donation, allowing us to help remove the pains of poverty for even more people. The lives changed are all due to you.
Health and happiness, love and God bless everyone, Sal
Please help: There are many coming to us in desperation. Our good fellow creations need our compassion. Together we make a big difference. 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©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: Family Foundation, Clarence and Marilyn Schawk Family Foundation, James & Lynne Newman Foundation, Paul Ziegler, Ziegler Charitable Foundation, Electronic Specialties, Fairwyn SB, Symphony Bay Gives Back, Brian Pollard and the Symphony Bay Team, Kevin Louis, Kunes Country Auto Group, John and Valerie Lincoln, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Joyce Byers, Doug and Jean Chase, Landon Petrie Jr., Doris Kushch, Bonnie Glennon, Tom and Mary Johnson, Edward Hechmann, Dean and Shirley Taylor, James and Cathy Beierle, Plasti-Coil, Colleen Heffernan, Candy Stermer, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Schuberth, Jeanne Allen, William and Beth Norton, Karin Slayton, Michael Glass, Gregory Swanson, William Davit, William and Karen Sodemann, Veronica Kirkpatrick, Noreen Studnicka, Michael and Barbara Lakin, George and Lauretta Clettenberg, Badger Hardwoods of Wisconsin, Richard and Carol Kerkman, Jacqueline Schaal, Judy Dishneau, Carol Hinners, Laura Johnson, and Gene and Linda Krauklis.
Prayer chain: The power of prayer and positive thoughts comes from the true healer, our Lord answering our prayers. Please pray for healing for the following people: Patricia H., Darlene, Talyn, Mike, Sylvia, Richard, Jennifer, Jayden, Maria C., Alex, Lily, Kaitlyn, Sheila, Rhonda, Deda Lee, Marilyn, Helen, Dennis, Mary, Joseph, Sal, Jordan, Jean, Tom L., Dr. Peter, Alyce, Matthew, Pam E., Jenene B. and John S.
Furniture donations: To donate furniture please call Love, Inc. (262) 763-2743