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 Friday, November 21, 2014
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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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United Way helps local people with real problems

Friday, November 21, 2014

A woman recently called the United Way of Franklin County office seeking help for the first time. She, her son, her daughter-in-law and the couple's 2-year-old disabled child were hours from becoming homeless. They had been renting a house month to month with no lease. The couple had a second child in October, and the infant died. After paying funeral costs for the baby, the family's funds were exhausted, and they were unable to pay the rent. They were evicted and were living in a hotel on US 220. They had enough money to pay for one more night in the hotel and, being unable to find work, had few resources for securing a permanent home.

Last week we received a call from a United Way donor and single mother with a serious medical condition who had lost her job due to new management and was having trouble finding another employer who would take on her medical condition. Scraping by on child support and savings, the woman was concerned for her children. With the holiday season approaching, how would she provide for them the basics? What would Christmas be like?

An elderly man on a fixed income moved in with a family member. She was to cash his monthly Social Security checks, pay a portion of her rent with it, and then give him the rest for living expenses. He was found severely dehydrated, living in his car and with serious medical issues related to not getting his medicine. The relative had stopped giving him any of the money from the monthly checks. He needed emergency care, a place to live, and a responsible guardian of his limited funds.

I tell these stories about real people in our community who, often by no fault of their own, find themselves in desperate situations and in need of help because you may not know about them. Unfortunately, the stories are many.

Far too often we learn of the single mother whose car broke down, who couldn't afford repairs, who couldn't get to work, who lost her job, who couldn't pay her rent, who was struggling to provide for her child. Or the man whose leg was amputated due to diabetes with no one to care for him who doesn't meet the criteria for help, but has no resources.

As much as we don't like to admit it, there are families and individuals who are living meal to meal and live in Franklin County. Their stories are complicated and almost always spring from one misfortune leading to another, reminding us that divorce, illness or other unforeseen circumstances can put any one of us in survival mode.

United Way of Franklin County is attempting to raise $382,000 this year to help people in need. But it's going to take those of us who have something helping those who have nothing. If you haven't done so, please make a tax deductible donation to United Way of Franklin County today. We promise that your donation will be responsibly and frugally used.

Nancy Bell, Executive Director

United Way of Franklin County

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