When the pandemic initially hit, lockdown happened, and everybody in the world sort of stopped for a bit to try and figure life out in this new paradigm, something beautiful happened out here. All our neighbors, from different walks of life, religions, political views, ethnicities…all started looking out for each other in ways I’d never experienced in this life. For the better part of 2 years, Mandy and I didn’t go to a grocery store. We grew vegetables and fruit and plants for gardens and shared them with our neighbors.
Frequently, different neighbors would bring us 20 lbs or more of sausage and beef, or 4 flats of eggs. Others would bring us gallons of milk. Always, we were checking in on each other. Many of them knew we were helping care for Mandy’s dad and were extra considerate of our strong Covid precautions despite not having the same degree of Covid concerns themselves. It truly was a situation in which a dark time brought about the best in people instead of the worst. Instead of cleaving us into different self-interested groups, it generated a sense of community and a desire to be of service to those around us. It was beautiful. The kind of beautiful that you carry like an ember in your heart to re-light that little fire of hope each time the world seems bleak.
It's in that same spirit that we’re hoping to expand our proverbial neighborhood and ask that if some of y’all are in the position to help one of our neighbors, that you consider doing so. This situation calls for more than veggies and eggs and while we did take up a monetary collection amongst ourselves to lend a hand, the need is so much greater than what we could accomplish on our own.
Our neighbor Debora Henson has had one terrible blow after the other over the last year or two and she’s about to lose her home as a result. She lives next door and has on so many occasions called us to let us know that we've got a bunch of boxes at the gate. That may sound like a small thing, but it's almost always small vulnerable plants and more than once her calls have saved thousands of our babies from freezing, or from burning up in the sun. We never asked for that and she doesn't have to....but she does. She's looking out for us. And it's made a difference.
As a childcare worker, she lost about a year’s worth of work when schools were shut down. After she finally started back, she contracted Delta virus so bad that when she finally got out of the hospital, she had completely lost vision in one eye, lost all her hair, could barely walk, was on oxygen for months, and suffered frequent anxiety and panic attacks. To this day, she still has problems recalling words and thinking as clearly as she used to, though she has recovered well enough to work full time again.
A few months back, her car went missing, so she had to purchase another one in order to get to the day care that she works at so she could keep her job and pay her bills. The children she works with are also the brightest part of her days too and they keep her going emotionally, so it means a lot for her to be there.
Last month a deer jumped out in front of her on the highway and demolished the front end of that car. I saw it on the side of the road and it was completely totaled. I gave her a ride to work that day and as shaken as she was about the frightening accident, she was even more concerned about how she was going to afford the $500 deductible when she was already 3 payments behind on her mortgage, not to mention the powerbills, etc..
We managed to come up with the $500 for her, but she had to use it to pay late bills on her mortgage and still hasn’t been able to get the deductible squared away, so she can’t get the insurance money to buy another car. Her friends and family are taking turns driving her to and from work every day.
A few weeks after the accident, her best friend and the father of her 3 children, Henry, suffered a massive stroke alone in the woods. A week later, he passed away.
Henry was her daily support as she struggled through recovery from Covid. She is absolutely grief stricken and simultaneously oppressed by the weight of all these physical and financial hardships. To compound matters, Henry also paid half the mortgage on the family home with her and that help is now gone.
Last I spoke with her, she said the rain was pouring in the through the roof and had resulted in a hole rotting through the floor in her kitchen.
It’s devastating to see her constantly barraged with all this hardship and if ever there were a need for community coming together to make real impactful change in someone’s life. This is it.
We are hoping to raise enough money to help Debora get her roof repaired, pay her car insurance deductible, and cover her late mortgage payments and knock back a chunk of the principal. She has no windfall coming. No inheritance or social safety net. Without our help, she stands to lose her home. So if you can, please pitch in what you can. You truly will be making a major impact on one kind woman’s life and putting an unbelievably bright end onto a very dark year for her.
-StevePlease Click Here To Help Our Dear Neighbor Debora!