Giving - Family Stories
People the Fuel Fund Has Helped
Denise and Charleswere living in a homeless shelter. Both had been unable to work full-time for quite a while. Charles had suffered a stroke and had to learn to walk again. Although they were able to find an apartment, the landlord would not allow them to move in until the electricity was turned on, and they had no money to pay for utilities. They turned to the local fuel fund for help. Thanks to the Fuel Fund and a local church, Denise and Charles were able to have service connected and are now living in their new home.
The professionally dressed womanat the meeting table was waiting for the Fuel Fund of Maryland's board meeting to begin. As the directors arrived, each noticed the newcomer, assuming she was a new board member, or a Community Assistance Network (CAN) staff. At the appropriate time the mystery woman was introduced. A recent recipient of Fuel Fund dollars, Ms. S. told her story—of a successful career, earning $55,000 a year, the joy of purchasing her first home—and then of divorce, job loss, and family illness. There was not a sound in the room as each board member absorbed how quickly one can become impoverished. CAN helped Ms. S. maintain her dignity, restore her electric service, and provide food for her family. Ms. S. helped the board of directors put a face on their mission.
Ms. White, a single parent with a hearing-impaired daughter, sought assistance from a local fuel fund to prevent her utility services from being terminated. The grant she received from the Fuel Fund was only a temporary solution, since Ms. White's real problem was lack of sufficient income to meet her basic needs. A counselor worked with Ms. White to create some goals to help her in her quest for self-sufficiency. After counseling and training, she was hired as a full time clerk/receptionist. The services provided by the local fuel fund have enabled Ms. White and her daughter to begin to live independent and happy lives.
Waynecame to a local fuel fund after he was seriously injured at work. The tractor trailer he was driving was rear-ended. Out of work on medical leave for several months, Wayne received workers' compensation, which was far, far less than his regular pay. Julie, his wife, earned $6.15 an hour, not enough to make up the difference. Wayne and Julie quickly became behind on their bills. With help from the Fuel Fund and their faith community, Wayne and Julie brought their utility bill up-to-date and avoided a shutoff. The crisis passed, the family's finances are on the mend, and Wayne is returning to good health and will be back to work soon.