Because we feel it is important that you know how and where your donations to Helping Hands are spent, here is what was done in the past week:
Electric 3 families $ 930.17
Water 1 family $ 451.41
Rent 27 families $ 31,043.52
Total $ 54,581.13
While we can all agree that 2020 has been a unique year, those of us at Helping Hands will look back on it as a year of miracles.
Back in early April, we first began to see the effects of job loss in our area due to COVID and the depressed oil industry. Not only did we anticipate huge requests for help from those without jobs, but we found that with our store and the churches that held collections for us being forced to close our primary sources of income were gone. We had our usual operating money set aside but that would only last for a week or two. The calls were flooding our helpline as more and more people found themselves out of work. Requests for unemployment benefits were backed up for weeks.
Many of the people we helped suffered job loss due to the pandemic. Many people still have jobs, but due to cutbacks are only working a fraction of the hours they were in the past. Many of them have gone from full time to only 5-10 hours per week. In some cases, even hourly wages have been cut. Especially impacted are those in the restaurant and hospitality industries, although loss of wages is being felt across the board.
It looked pretty bleak, but then a long-time supporter of Helping Hands heard our cry and came forth with an offer of a $100,000 matching grant pledge. If we could raise $100,000, then he would match it with his own $100,000. We got the word out as quickly as we could and unbelievably in less than two weeks, we had the full $100,000. And the money kept coming. Shortly thereafter a pledge from another man came in for another $100,000 matching grant. We again got that information out and we were blessed to have that match met within a week. Then, unbelievably, the first man came back with another $100,000 matching grant, and when that was met the second man came forth with yet another $100,000 matching grant. Donations large and small came in from all over Midland as individuals, agencies and charitable organizations pitched in to help us stay afloat.
And so, we were able to keep operating…at full throttle! Where before we were pretty much limited to spending $20,000 per week to help those in need, with the flood of support from all of you we were able to increase our spending to as much as $40-$50,000 per week. Incredibly (and thankfully) since the beginning of this year (through mid-December), we have spent a whopping $1,719,702 assisting those in need primarily with rent, but also utilities, medical and other expenses. What a joy it is to be able to help so many people!
So yes, 2020 has been a year of challenges, but it has also been a year of blessings. We thank all of you who reached out to those in need through Helping Hands. You truly are God’s arms reaching out to those in need. Thank you very, very much!