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.

Dorothy is a 60-something client who, as she exited the H.E.L.P. House one rainy day in December, created curiosity when she put her one allotted roll of toilet tissue under her coat. When questioned why she was doing that, her response was that she "didn't want it to get wet." Can you imagine guarding one roll of toilet tissue? Can you imagine needing to ask if the H.E.L.P. House has any tissue during every weekly visit? Because we always have a shortage of toilet tissue, can you imagine not being able to have any toilet tissue for the week because we 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 some birthday cupcakes. Embarrassingly, the father said that they didn't have enough money for cake or 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 birthday celebration?

Jeff has a large family living in very small quarters, so if someone gets a cold or the flu, everyone gets it. He cannot afford children's cough syrup or any other OTC 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 who was responsible for three small children came into 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 any school supplies. Can you imagine having your children or grandchildren sent home from school? Can you imagine having only a t-shirt and set of pajama pants for each of your kids?

Typical Client 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 finds himself/herself 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?