CityHeart Mission Moments – July 6, 2021
I’m back in the saddle again, as they say! As the Executive Director of CityHeart, I wear many hats: operations manager, program services coordinator, administrator, staff and volunteer supervisor, board member, you get the idea! When our programs services staff assistant is away on vacation, I spend my day working directly with our neighbors in need. It’s Tuesday after the holiday weekend, always a busy time as we begin a four-day week. The volunteer Resource Specialist of the day works on incoming requests for help. I work with our clients who are following up on pledges of assistance that CityHeart has offered to resolve their immediate needs.
Here is a recap of my day, with names changed to maintain confidentiality:
Client #1 – Karen lost her job during the pandemic and was then diagnosed with cancer. She had surgery and will not be able to return to work in the foreseeable future. She applied for disability, which ended her unemployment benefits. In the interim she is struggling to pay her July rent of $974. CityHeart offered $150 and St. Vincent offered $100. Karen was able to pay the balance of $723 and we mailed our check to the rental office today. She has worked hard all her life and hopes that she will not need to move due to these circumstances, the cancer has turned her life upside-down. We pray she will find some stability and were very happy to help!
Client #2 – Jerry and Paula were forced to move during the pandemic. The landlord allowed them to move in, but now they need $806 to transfer their DP&L service. When they called CityHeart they had NO electric service. Jerry has multiple sclerosis and also had COVID, so he is now on long term disability. Paula works part time but extra health expenses have made it hard for them to pay this bill. Sometimes, “it takes a village,” so in addition to a pledge of $150 from CityHeart, this couple is receiving help from three other organizations to restore their service today. They were very grateful for a caring community!
Client #3 – Natasha has recently graduated from a local university. She was required to have an internship as part of her program, which was very difficult to find during the pandemic. Her first placement was a paid position, but the opportunity was lost due to COVID shut down of the company. She then secured another internship that unfortunately was unpaid. She is now working but fell behind on her rent, needing just $250 to pay the past due amount. CityHeart paid $150 and she got another $100 from a referral we gave her, problem solved today for this determined young woman.
Client #4 – Terri is a young working mother of two who was laid off her job due to the pandemic. She set up a payment plan to stretch the total of her natural gas bill over a few months so she can get caught up again before the winter heating season. Due to changes in the unemployment system, she experienced a brief gap of income and she needs just $222 for the payment. She paid some, CityHeart paid some and the problem was solved. Her unemployment was reinstated and she hopes to be back to work soon.
Client #5 – Melody is a senior citizen; her only income is her social security retirement. She qualifies for a low-income payment arrangement at $48 a month for her utilities but she is currently in default and must pay nearly $400 to recertify for the plan. Melody admitted she spent too much money on things she normally doesn’t purchase, but really needed during COVID, “So I got me some Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, and cleaning products,” she explained. We are very glad that Melody stayed healthy! Once again, CityHeart pooled together resources to help Melody with her bill to remain on the plan. We are relieved to know that her son will help her to prioritize spending and manage the bills moving forward.
It was a busy but rewarding day in the life of CityHeart. We are thankful to be able to offer this response to many people impacted by COVID. I welcome these days that keep me grounded in our mission to serve the needy throughout our community, and I am humbled to share these stories.
We could not accomplish this without the wonderful support from our donors, thank you and thanks be to God!
Kris Sexton, CityHeart Executive Director