Newsletter Stories

A client visited us originally in October, to sign up for a Thanksgiving basket, Christmas basket, and Christmas gifts for his young children. Sam is a single father raising three children, two boys and a girl, all under the age of eight. He is disabled and lives on a limited income. Through our holiday adopter program, Sam was able to be adopted by an organization. This organization provided food baskets for Sam and his children for Thanksgiving and again for Christmas along with gifts and toys. This was a total godsend for Sam who was struggling and questioning how he would provide a suitable Christmas for his children. Sam frantically visited us once again in mid-November after NYSEG came to his apartment and shut his electric off due to a past due balance. Sam’s disability check had been delayed that month and he was unable to pay the bill on time. After reviewing his case, it was evident that Sam normally was able to pay his NYSEG bill if not for the delay this month. We paid the amount required for his electric to be reconnected over the phone and made sure he had a plan to stay safe and warm for the night for himself and his children. Sam was also low on vehicle gas and concerned about multiple doctor appointments he had in Binghamton within the next couple days. Over the holiday season, there were donors who purchased gas cards designated to be used for clients in need. One of those was given to Sam so he was able to make it to the appointments without canceling. After the assistance we were able to give to Sam, he was in wonderment and could not have been more thankful for all we had done for his family during the holiday season.

Matthew and Jane, a middle-aged couple, are a good example of this. Jane was working as a home health aide for a company that outsources her to a patient’s homes. She uses her own vehicle. Her workload changes from week to week and paychecks are always varied. Jane struggled to afford the gas for their vehicle because the company did not allow for a gas credit or reimbursement. Matthew worked as a security guard in Ithaca on the weekends working twelve hour days, both on Saturday and Sunday. He could not accept any more hours at his job because the couple only owned one vehicle and Jane was using it for her job during the week. When the couple came to TCRM, their immediate need was for gas for their vehicle. In addition, they were struggling to make a car payment. They also were in need of a part for their hot water heater and currently were only using the cold water. Matthew was able to change the part himself; however they did not have the funds to pay for the part. After consideration, we were able to assist Matthew and Jane by ordering the part for their hot water heater, along with a tank of gas and their car payment. After reviewing their finances, it was clear that, with this help, they would be able to make their next car payment. We also helped Matthew and Jane with the part for their hot water heater. Matthew and Jane are proof that a couple may be working and still need assistance from us, assistance we are thankful to have the ability to give.

We also recently assisted Audrey. Audrey had skills in many different fields of employment. She had a job as a welder for twenty years and also had a CDL (commercial driver’s license) learner’s permit. Due to a lay-off and difficult job market, Audrey has been unemployed for the last seven months. When Audrey came to us for assistance, things had just ended between her and her significant other of twenty five years. Because she did not own the house they were living in, her significant other forced her to leave with only a suitcase. All of her savings went toward the bills she had during her time of unemployment. Audrey came to us for assistance because she was homeless and had no place to stay. A friend was letting her use their home to cook a meal during the day but did not have room for her to sleep or stay over. She had already spent time sleeping in store fronts and hallways. Audrey had spoken to a local landlord who had an efficiency apartment available that he would be willing to rent to her for $800.00. Audrey had a lot of drive and willingness to get back into the workforce. She came in knowing who was hiring where and just needed to get into an apartment so that she could get a stable job. $800.00 was more than TCRM could manage financially. With our guidance, Audrey applied at the Dept. of Social Services and was awarded $400.00 for the security deposit. We also worked closely with the Open Door Mission which was able to provide $200.00 toward Audrey’s first month’s rent with TCRM covering the remaining $200.00. Between partnering with the other agencies and working with the willing landlord, Audrey was off the streets and into a stable residence where she could find employment and start improving herself. Since then, Audrey has come into our food pantry and is doing much better. She is working in the Tioga Works program in order to get benefits from the Dept. of Social Services. She has also applied for a job at Tioga Transit to drive a bus. Audrey has taken the test and added the passenger endorsement onto her CDL learner’s permit so that she is eligible to drive for them. Although there have been many setbacks in Audrey’s life, she continues to make the best of what she has. We felt very humble to be able to assist Audrey and see her begin to strive and succeed again. Sometimes clients just need their immediate need met and it can make way for other things to fall into place.

One couple who came to us for assistance during the past winter season was Tom and Joan. This couple had recently moved into a new apartment in the fall. Prior to the move, they were always eligible to receive HEAP. The new apartment was located on the second floor over top of a restaurant. After moving in, the couple learned that there was never a heat source installed in the apartment because the landlord believed the ovens in the restaurant would generate enough heat for the apartment upstairs. However, this was not the case. Tom and Joan began utilizing electric heaters to heat their apartment. When it became time to apply for HEAP, the couple was denied because their apartment was listed as a non-heating unit. With a high NYSEG bill, facing termination, Tom and Joan contacted us for assistance. After going through our financial assistance process, looking at their income, expenses, and need, we determined that we were able to help them. The best part for us was being able to assist when HEAP wasn’t an option and use the funds provided to us by our donors. Our assistance prevented Tom and Joan from having their electric turned off and allowed them to be more stable to pay their bill next month.

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