Can You Imagine?
We all know what poverty is, but do we truly understand how poverty affects our own neighbors? The following stories are about individuals and families who have come through the H.E.L.P. House.
A 60-something-year-old customer created curiosity as she exited the H.E.L.P. House one rainy day in December. Noticing her hide her one allotted roll of toilet tissue under her coat, a volunteer asked the woman why she did so, prompting the response that the woman "didn't want it to get wet." Can you imagine guarding one roll of toilet tissue so closely? Can you imagine needing to ask if the H.E.L.P. House even had any toilet tissue to begin with? Unfortunately, we always have a shortage of toilet tissue. Can you imagine being without toilet tissue for an entire week because the H.E.L.P. House ran out?
A family came in with two very small children for the winter coat drive. The little five-year-old girl announced very cheerily that it was her birthday. Dee asked the child's parents if she could have a birthday cupcake. Embarrassed, the father responded that they didn't have enough money for cakes or any other celebratory items. The little girl was so excited when Dee handed her a package of 6 brightly-colored cupcakes that had been donated by a local bakery. Can you imagine not being able to provide your child with any sort of birthday celebration?
A middle-aged man has a large family living in very small quarters. If someone gets a cold or the flu, everyone gets it. He cannot afford children's cough syrup or any other over-the-counter medicines. Can you imagine having your entire family sick and not being able to provide them with any medicinal relief?
At the start of the school year, a grandmother responsible for three young children approached the H.E.L.P. House. She had tried to send her grandchildren to school, but they were sent home because they didn't have any appropriate clothing or school supplies. Can you imagine having only a t-shirt and a set of pajama pants for each of your kids? Can you imagine looking at the list of necessary school supplies for your children or grandchildren and realizing that you're unable to afford anything on it?
Typical Customer Situations
Can you imagine being a single parent with no source of income, or an elderly couple with only an unreliable and broken-down vehicle to call home?
Can you imagine being a grandparent whose savings was crushed with the economic crash and then suddenly finding yourself as the sole provider for several small children?
Can you imagine having to choose between feeding your children or paying a housing bill?
Can you imagine telling your children or grandchildren that you can't celebrate Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas this year?