Pennies from Heaven

She stared at the social services building and took a deep breath.  In her 55 years, she never thought she would need to ask for help.   “Rose” (not her real name) is a Central Lincoln customer.   She still gets tears in her eyes thinking of that moment.

What had happened?

About seven years ago, Rose was rear-ended in a car crash by a teenager driving illegally. Years of recovery followed, and her injuries were so severe, Rose now can’t work full-time, but does work at least three-quarters time.

Her savings dwindled.

Then an elderly relative became very sick.  With no other family members able to help out, Rose went to care for him, but her income plummeted.   He passed away.   Then a second elderly family member became unable to care for herself, and Rose took over her care as well.   Even though things were very difficult, Rose was able to stay out of debt, living frugally.

Then her landlord told her the rent would be doubling.   She had no choice, but to move out of her home.   Rose immediately started looking for places she could afford, but such rentals on the Central Coast aren’t easy to find.   She packed up her things, slept on a friend’s couch, stayed at campgrounds.  A friendly employee at one told her about a rental they’d heard was available, and after several months without a home, Rose had her new place.  But her income still hadn’t stabilized.   Deposits and the costs of moving put her at one of the lowest points she’d ever been: She wasn’t able to pay for heat or electricity. Then she heard about the Project Care funds at Community Services Consortium in Newport.

“It was a miracle day for me,” she says.  “I qualified for a one-time voucher for assistance, thanks to Central Lincoln customers who donate. I had always prided myself on giving to help others.  Not just to my family; but others who struggled.  Now I had to ask for help.”

Life has stabilized for the careerwoman who was without a home for a time.   She’s signing up for Roundup for Project Care, which will Roundup her electricity bills to the nearest dollar to help others in need.  “Those pennies that went to help me were like pennies from heaven,” she says with a smile.   “I’m going to help others the way I was helped.”

“What happened to me could happen to anyone.  And I’m concerned about those who lost their homes and their retirement funds during the recession.”  Although sharing her story is a hard thing to do, Rose hopes that doing so will encourage you to join her in donating via Roundup, or by making a donation to Project Care.

Currently, just over 1,000 Central Lincoln customers give via Roundup.  The most Roundup can cost a customer is 99 cents a month, or $11.88 a year.  The average customer gives about 48 cents a month– $5.76 a year.  Signing up is easy: email us at info@clpud.org  or write “sign me up for Roundup”on your payment coupon when paying your Central Lincoln bill, or call your nearest Central Lincoln office (the numbers are on the back of your bill).  If most of our customers gave through Roundup, more than $17,000 a month would be available to help folks like Rose who have fallen on hard times.

Nonprofits in Florence, Newport, and Reedsport screen applicants, and distribute the funds.

“I’m so grateful to the people who donated,” says Rose.  “I think of them as angels. I’m looking forward to helping others anonymously as they did.  That help meant the world to me.  Please join me in donating via Roundup.”

 

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