To The Daily Sun,
Dear Friends in the Lakes Region:
Earlier this year, a San Francisco school teacher was contemplating how to encourage her students to help raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Muscle Walk. She arranged for them to follow around a young child with MD as a learning tool that they would understand the difficulties of living with the crippling disease. By "walking in that person's footsteps," they better understood the difficulties of life.
Perhaps I can do the same for you in understanding the lives of the people that Neighbors in Need helps through the stories we receive from the churches and agencies in the Lakes Region. To most of us, the home is our "safety net," our protection against harm and the elements. But for a family where the father loses his job and becomes violent, the home became a place of danger for the mother and her children. Through the efforts of the Salvation Army, she and her family was able to escape to a place of safety and security. They are now getting back on their feet.
Thanks to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, most of us who have reached the twilight of life have the financial security of health insurance to cover our medical needs. But for an elderly woman whose income is meager, the costs of government program "spend-downs" are terribly burdensome. Catholic Charities was able to help her fill the holes in her budget.
Another elderly woman supplemented her society security income by working a part-time job. However, when she was injured from a fall, she couldn't work. She fell behind in her bills. Service Link was able to help with some of the bills and avoid eviction, while she recuperated at home. She's now back to work and safe in her apartment.
The United Baptist Church tells the story of a family who had always been able to care for themselves. However, the mother became ill and required hospice care. The father took a leave from work to care for her. As a result, their rent went into arrears, owing more than $1,500 dollars. The church was able to negotiated a reduction in the rent owed with the landlord, and paid the balance. The husband is now back to work, and the family is stable again.
Most of us take our automobiles for granted as transportation to work, for children, or pleasure. However, a single mom at St. Vincent de Paul, could only afford an "old clinker" that was in need of repairs. If the car wasn't fixed, no work and no medical appointments for a sick child. The car is now working and back on the road.
Bill Johnson, President
Neighbors in Need