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 6 families $ 2,579.57
Water 1 family $ 323.92
Rent 17 families $26,087.33
TOTAL $28,990.82

Articles in the Midland Reporter-Telegram this week announced the decline in our unemployment from 9.5 percent in July to 8.1 percent. While that is very good news for our economy it is still a far cry from the 2.3 percent unemployment recorded this same time last year. Obviously the decline in the oil industry affected many jobs as did the pandemic. However while things are looking better for us we must also keep in mind that while more people are working they still are not working full time. Especially affected (aside from oil) are those in the restaurant and hotel industry. They have jobs, but very few of them can say they are working full time. We meet with people on a regular basis that are only working 15-20 hours per week. Some are even having their pay cut as well as their hours. While they scramble to try to find a second job they are working twice as hard to make less money than they were making before. It is very, very sad. But fortunately rents are starting to come down and so we pray that eventually hours will increase, rents will continue to drop and we will find a happy medium. In the meantime we thank all of you for your donations that allow us to help so many of our neighbors in need.

And yes, we are most grateful for your donations of items that we can sell in our thrift store (the proceeds from which go to help those in need). But lately we have had several disturbing reports from the people who donate to us. When they go by our trucks parked outside of St. Stephen’s there are oftentimes people stealing out of the trucks. We have also noticed that when people leave their donations at our store during off-hours, those bags of clothing are also rummaged through, and oftentimes the clothes are strewn across the parking lot. Obviously we have no recourse but to dispose of them when they reach us in damaged or heavily soiled condition. It is very sad that people will do that. If they are in desperate need of clothing they need only call our helpline and ask. If they are in search of articles that they can sell or pawn, then that theft is unforgiveable. Those items are being donated to help those in need in Midland County. If anyone sees people pilfering from our trucks, PLEASE call the police. And ideally, if at all possible, please bring your items directly to us at 1301 Brinson. We are open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

What a treat we received last week when the folks from Jumburrito dropped by to donate 20 burritos for our lunch. It was a pleasant surprise and very well received by all. What a blessing that your store in our neighborhood finally opened after being closed for over a year while it was rebuilt. You know we will be visiting you regularly!