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 5 families $ 2,356.55
Water 1 family $ 69.38
Rent 30 families $29,873.07
Misc. 3 families $ 583.47
We met recently with a 43-year-old woman who we will name Doris. She and her 13-year-old son live with her mother, who is 65 years old and confined to a wheelchair. Both the older woman and Doris receive Social Security; the mother because she can no longer walk, and Doris because of some brain damage that was the result of a stroke she suffered a few years back. She still has trouble thinking clearly at times and she seems almost to be mentally slow. Together, the two women receive $750 each month.
Doris shopped carefully for her son’s “back to school” needs. She is always careful with her money because after she pays the $450 rent each month the remaining $300 goes to cover food, utilities and incidentals for the entire month. In July she received a call from her landlord. He told her that, regretfully, with rising costs of taxes, maintenance and upkeep on his rental properties it was necessary that he increase the rent beginning August 1. The rent would increase from $450 to $550. With what she had spent on her son’s school needs, there was no way to pay for August. He agreed, and said he would not charge late fees provided that she got the payment handled in a timely manner.
She called our helpline and we met with her. We were very impressed with her positive attitude. While many people would have been angry at the landlord, she smiled and told us what a wonderful man he was – how he had given them such a good deal on their house, which she knew was unheard of in Midland (getting a house for such an inexpensive rate). She fully understood the need to increase the rent and she was grateful for having had such a low payment for as long as she did. While the increase would leave the family with extremely little to spend each month she felt confident that she could come up with a way to make it work. Doris felt assured that God would be there to help her and her family.
We counseled her on getting assistance with food. With the 13-year-old in the house and their extremely limited income, there should be no problem with qualifying for SNAP (food stamp) assistance. We asked her to bring in her electric bill when she receives it. We will look over her rate plan and see if we can get her on a program to help ease that expense. And of course, we did pay her August and also her September rent to give her some leeway in adjusting to her new financial situation and we gave her a ride home so she would not have to take the bus. We will keep an eye on Doris and her family from time to time, to be sure that they are able to make it. But knowing her, we think she will be okay.
What is so striking about Doris; what impressed us so much, was her ability to handle adversity with such grace. Rather than dwelling on the negative, she sees only the positive. She is confronting her future with much patience and faith. What a lesson in positive living she is for us! We pray for Doris and her family, for the landlord who has done so much to help the family have affordable living (and we know it is at his own expense), and we thank all of you who allow us to help people such as Doris by your support of Helping Hands. God bless you!