When we began this ministry just over a year ago, it required a leap of faith because none of us had any experience with this kind of outreach program. We are now looking to take another leap of faith by increasing our monetary maximum from $35 to $40 per person per year in order to match what the other churches in the Community Resource Network offer. Our ten-bucks-a-month club will be accompanied by our new one-client-a-month club and we hope our generous donors will join up.
Sometimes, we see people who are struggling under what seem to be impossible odds, either economically, physically or emotionally. In this month before the holidays, we realize that these factors often cannot be separated.
Meredith approached us for help with rent. Often we cannot do so, as the amount required is either too large or it may mean an ongoing problem that cannot be helped by our once-a-year assistance. This time, though, Meredith had just found a job, and could manage most of the rent on her own with a little starter boost from the Community Resource Network. She is the mother of 10 children and lives at Dorothy Place. Her son, her second child, was murdered several years ago. Meredith also lost custody of her children several years ago, but she has now recently regained it, with the exception of her youngest child, age 5, who lives with her oldest daughter. Her son's murder trial is scheduled for the beginning of next year. She has visited other churches, so we added our pledge to those she had already received, along with our blessing that she would prevail through this next difficult year.
Peggy lives with Harry, who suffers from severe diabetic neuropathy. They own a small RV in the county.They are able to keep warm because Opportunity Council gave them enough wood to see them through the winter. Peggy was hoping for help to buy tarpaulins, as the RV has a roof that leaks in several places. She had already done the legwork and priced the best tarps for the job at a local hardware store. When they each pool their resources, she and Harry are able to save $17 per month for "emergencies,"but were hoping that our combined pledges would cover the entire amount" so their emergency fund would be untapped this month. We were glad they came to us and gave them our pledge towards the tarps. They expressed their gratitude for this assistance--and also because it hadn't rained in over a week.
Marjorie has fallen behind with her rent for the first time in her life. She was not being threatened with eviction, but she has four children between the ages of 7 and 2, had recently been abandoned by their father and was now a single, working mother. She had a full time job, paying $1000 per month in rent, and had no choice but to take a two-week leave of absence, without pay, to care for her sick two-year-old who required hospitalization. Hence, her predicament. The amount she required, though, was too large for the network to cover. We gave her our pledge towards a part of what she owed, and strongly urged her to speak to her landlord to ask if she could pay off the remainder in weekly installments. We felt that was her best approach as she has a good rental record. She was filled with anxiety: afraid of losing her job by taking a little extra time to seek help, and afraid of speaking with her landlord "who isn't the nicest person." May she work something out with him and may it all go well for her and her children from now on.
Thank you to all our donors for making it possible for us to continue to serve those in need during the holiday season.