Altavista Habitat for Humanity – Income Focus
In 2019 one of our partner agency families was comprised of a mother (Karen), an adult special needs daughter, and a teenage grandchild. During an assessment of their current living conditions, Habitat learned that the family lived in inadequate housing. For example, the mother, Karen’s bedroom was a storage closet addition intended to hold gardening supplies, where there was water damage that resulted in mold/mildew issues, and the home had structural issues that resulted in inadequate heating. The access into the home and the bathroom facilities did not support the adult daughter’s special needs.
Throughout the build, Karen was onsite working whenever there was work to be done. She did anything she could to help. Karen painted, installed insulation in the foundation area, installed the vapor barrier, helped with the siding, and many other activities. In addition, Karen was a contributor to every fundraiser in 2019.
A similar level of housing need and dedication to helping move her children into a better environment was demonstrated by our other 2019 partner family mother, Gloria.
In December 2019, just before Christmas, both families moved into their homes. These two families now have safe and adequate living environments. The three children, Karen’s daughter and Gloria’s daughter and nephew, all have their own bedrooms. The homes are well-heated with no issues of mold. Monthly mortgage and escrow payments are much less (about half) than the amount they paid in rent. Reducing rent payments frees up dollars in their budget for other basics such as food and clothing for their families.
Additionally, a mortgage leads to savings via equity in the home. Both families have acknowledged the move was a life-changing event. Both families have already volunteered to help fundraise, and home builds in 2020 to help other families.
When financial stability is present, the realistic expectation of a better future is possible – this is hope in action.
Jubilee Family Development Center – Education Focus
Jubilee Family Development Center has had the opportunity and privilege of working with Ravean for the past ten years through the YES Program. During this time, we were favorably impressed with his commitment to our center and his exhibiting manhood, scholarship, and perseverance on a consistent basis. Ravean is a strong student academically and a fierce competitor on the playing field. Ravean played a key role this past summer during Jubilee’s Summer Enrichment Camp, where he mentored some of Jubilee’s younger boys by example.
Ravean’s home life is not your typical Brady Bunch scenario. His father is incarcerated, and his mother is absent due to personal issues, but Ravean continues to do what he is supposed to do, which is “his best.” Making lemonade out of the lemons that life has given him thus far shows the strength of his character. In the summer of 2017, Jubilee’s staff realized that Ravean was in a house with no electricity, water, or food. We assisted him in finding a new family that was able to open their home to him. He never missed a beat during his struggles with life. He is actively involved in football, track, R.O.T.C., and the Building Young Men’s mentoring program at Jubilee. Ravean is also an employee of Golden Corral and attends Prayer of Faith Temple as his worship place.
If you looked at the outward appearance and demeanor of Ravean, you would never know that this young man has experienced extreme hardships and numerous disappointments in his young life. When parents are not parents, children are often robbed of their childhood, and they grow up trying to meet everyone else’s needs. It is rare to find a young African American adolescent male who says, “Yes Sir, No Ma’am, and Thank you.” Ravean is always polite, respectful, and determined not to let external trials disrupt his inner peace or bright future.
Jubilee programs build into the lives of young people academically, and socially and instill equity – the quality of being fair and impartial.
When equity is a reality than hope of a better future is possible.
Free Clinic – Health Focus
Alfred was recently hospitalized at Lynchburg General Hospital with complications from diabetes. Alfred had been a Free Clinic patient several years ago, but discontinued care with us when offered commercial health and dental insurance through his employer. Alfred was conscientious about his health and had been careful about managing his diabetes while he was a free clinic patient. He continued these healthy habits after he transferred care to private medical practice. Last year, Alfred was laid off from his job. Although eligible to continue his medical and dental insurance coverage through COBRA, it would have cost him over $750 per month, something Alfred could not afford. Alfred quickly found another job, but this one paid less, and this employer did not offer health or dental insurance. At first, Alfred could keep up with the cost of his insulin and test strips for his glucometer. But after several months, he began to struggle with the over $400 per month he had to pay for medications. He stopped using his insulin. Within days, he was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital.
Discharge planners at the hospital recommended that Alfred re-establish care at the Free Clinic. He hesitated initially, thinking that he would not be eligible for services since he was earning over $25,000 per year. Once he learned that he could return to care at the Free Clinic, Alfred was extremely relieved. The discharge planner contacted the Free Clinic and scheduled Alfred’s hospital discharge appointment. Alfred is again receiving comprehensive healthcare services and is working on getting his diabetes back under control. While there is no charge for services at the Free Clinic, Alfred gladly donates $4 each month for his insulin and $5 for his medical visits. Alfred knows that these donations will help take care of the next patient.
Compassion builds trust. Alfred’s willingness to return to the Free clinic exemplifies the Compassionate care of the Free Clinic team.
Salvation Army – Basic Human Needs
Last year, the Salvation Army helped a young mother who had a special needs baby with down syndrome. The baby’s condition had affected her ability to nurse and receive food by mouth. So, this young mother had to feed her child through a G-tube, daily adding to the costs and challenges a new addition to the family can often bring.
Her husband, who was the primary source of income for the family, became too overwhelmed with the situation and left her alone to take care of the family. He could not handle the responsibility of being a parent, especially to a child with special needs.
When the mother came to us, she was broken and had lost all hope. Her story and plight broke our hearts. She was facing eviction and full of fear for her baby.
At the Salvation Army, we were able to assist her with her commitments and additionally gave her a food basket. We partnered with other community agencies to guarantee her rent was paid in its entirety, ensuring she would not lose her home.
Carmela, who handles all family service needs for The Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg, spent time with this young mother. Carmela let her know about all the resources available to her in the community to help her move forward. She spent time encouraging and uplifting the young mother, letting her know we care about her and her baby.
Compassion, Equity, Hope are woven this story of the Salvation Army’s care for this young mom and her infant child.
Unite for Compassion, Equity, Hope and give to strengthen the building blocks of a good life: Health Education, Income, and Basic Human Needs.