Thursday, February 7, 2013
Spotlight on the Help with the Basics Campaign
Becca and Sun were a newly wedded couple. They were just starting to build their lives together when Sun was in a car accident. Even though both were employed, Sun’s job did not include insurance benefits. The unpredictable event of a car accident suddenly burdened them with paying expensive hospital bills in addition to their many other bills.
While Sun’s health prevented him from rejoining the work force, Becca continued working to support them. For four months she was able to keep their family afloat. Unfortunately, the bills piled on and even though Becca kept working, she found herself unable to maintain payments.
She was extremely stressed and worried about paying their bills including their past-due utilities bill— not to mention her husband’s recovery. She turned to Human Solutions, a nonprofit that “eliminates barriers to escaping poverty” and prevents families from becoming homeless. The organization is partnered with United Way’s Community Relief Fund.
Human Solutions paid Becca and Sun’s entire electric bill, which was already three months overdue. The financial and emotional relief of this assistance was significant for Becca. She was now able to focus on paying rent and her husband’s recovery. Rather than being burdened with the past, Becca and Sun were able to concentrate on the present. With the small amount of assistance they received, Becca and Sun were able to get back on their feet, but they are just one family out of many in our community that need some extra help.
That’s why we’re partnering with the Oregon Food Bank and NW Natural to address the basic needs of our community: hunger, housing and heat. Any donation to the Help with the Basics campaign is divided equally among the three causes. The Oregon Food Bank provides emergency food supplies for neighbors in need. Additionally, the organization offers education and advocacy programs to fight hunger from all angles. NW Natural offers a Gas Assistance Program (GAP), which helps community members stay warm in the winter by assisting with utilities bills. GAP has been in place for thirty years and has raised more than $5.3 million. United Way’s Community Relief Fund allows families to remain in their homes by assisting in rent, utilities and mortgage payments. As of October 2012, the Community Relief Fund has assisted 70,127 people in the four-county area, which amounts to 24,867 households. By combining these three causes into one campaign, basic needs can be fulfilled for all members of our community.
Like Becca and Sun, accidents can happen to good, hardworking people. Sometimes, all it takes is one accident to tip the scale from living modestly to living in poverty. Becca and Sun are proof that hard times and bad luck fall indiscriminately. That is why it is important that a local safety net is established to prevent people from falling through the cracks. Help with the Basics provides the funds, materials and organizational support for any and all community members in need. Donate now.