We have been visited by a number of women in late middle age (or older) who struggle to make ends meet. It is unlikely that their lot in life will improve in the near future, so a place to sit and have a hot cup of coffee, a conversation with friendly faces, and a little monetary assistance, be it only once a year, can bring immeasurable comfort.
Jane has been diagnosed with a neurological disease which affects her memory and as a result can no longer work. She also needs surgery on her painful knees. Because of long-time domestic abuse, she has suffered from PTSD for many years. She is on state disability and is in the process of applying for social security relief. Jane is still able to drive her small car so we gave her a voucher for gasoline so she can more easily make it to group counseling sessions rather than walking to the bus stop.
Belinda had pneumonia. She called us from the hospital to explain why she couldn't come by to see us, that she had received a pledge from St. Paul's Alms Ministry the week before and needed the church network's help to pay her monthly phone bill. It was her lifeline and her only way of keeping in touch with helpful neighbors. We verified her plight with both the hospital and St. Paul's, and delivered our pledge by hand into St. Paul's safekeeping.
Estelle is well educated with an advanced degree earned in her adult years and on which she is still paying student loans of $250 per month. She is now unable to work. She is also the sole caretaker of her adult schizophrenic son who lives with her. Their combined income is $1500 per month which is considered too large for her to qualify for many kinds of assistance. She is hoping for forgiveness of her student loan, but until that happens, it is difficult to make ends meet. We gave her a pledge towards payment of her power bill. A TV switched on for most hours of the day is essential in the daily routine of her son.
These stories are often difficult to hear, but the women are stoic and struggle along as best they can. On their behalf, we thank you for your continuing monetary support of our ministry. Blessings to them--and to you.