Helping Families Stay in Their Homes with Lights on and Food on the Table
Last summer, during a particularly hot stretch of days, Linda and Jim, a senior couple on a fixed income, were overwhelmed by recent medical bills and realized they were behind on their utility payments.
Last summer, during a particularly hot stretch of days, Linda and Jim, a senior couple on a fixed income, were overwhelmed by recent medical bills and realized they were behind on their utility payments. Their electricity was shut off at the height of the heat wave, making their home dangerously hot. On top of that, both Linda and Jim need electricity for their medical devices, including a machine that helps Linda breathe.
They couple felt isolated and embarrassed. How could this have happened? They had planned carefully for retirement. They stuck to a budget and didn’t spend lavishly. They weren’t the sort of people who needed help.
Linda and Jim remembered seeing a poster for United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline and decided to call. On the same day they reached out for help, funding from United Way supporters helped restore their electricity. The couple also received a bag of food to help them make it to the end of the month.
This is happy news. Unfortunately, this scenario has become even more common in our community due to economic turmoil. Rising cost of inflation and workforce issues have combined to create crisis situations for many families who never before thought they would be in a situation requiring assistance. And for those living near the poverty line, unanticipated events such as a medical emergency or a major car repair can be devastating.
This was the situation faced by Hank, a single father working hard to give his daughter, Gabby, a safe, stable and loving home while at the same time supporting her through the unimaginable: treatment for a recently diagnosed tumor. Frequent medical appointments caused Hank to deplete all of his vacation time at work, so he started taking unpaid leave. As more and more time, energy, and money was dedicated to Gabby’s care, Hank’s ability to pay rent was slipping. After several months, he and his daughter were facing an eviction notice. Then, their car broke down. Hank was distraught. Gabby was fearful about missing critical medical appointments. Thankfully, because of United Way supporters, Hank and his daughter received the help they needed to get their car fixed as well as remain in their home. Gabby is now successfully finished with her medical treatments and Hank has returned to work full-time.
These stories and more are made possible by the support of thousands of individuals and organizations that pledge support for the United Way/CHAD Campaign each year.