A Community that Cares
By Randy Englund
“I have been working with Steve for the past 4 months and even though I don’t work that much, I enjoy my time. I am currently his only employee and I do everything I can to potentially get more business going for our company. I always come to work and I always do my job no questions asked. He was even telling me that he wants to hire another person so I could train them in case we land another contract. We always share stories with each other and one day I mentioned that I had a hard time seeing signs or words because my eyesight was terrible. He went out of his way to tell me that he has a friend who is an optometrist and he told me that he would try to get me hooked up. I usually think that hooked up means like a discount but he text me 2 hours later to tell me that not only did he get me a free eye exam but also a free prescription pair of glasses. My jaw dropped because I have never really had someone go out of their way to help me like that, Well……besides Family Promise that is. I am so grateful that he did that for me and I am grateful that I am working with him. I honestly would like to keep working with him and bear witness to his company as it expands. I can’t thank him enough for not only the glasses but for being a friend as well because he is not just my boss, he is my Best Friend.”
Family Promise-Greater Phoenix would like to thank Steve Kaiser, Palo Verde Cleaning Solutions and Dr. Julie Lam,OD, Eye Care North for the kindness and generosity they have shown Randy….you have truly changed his life!
Keeping the Family Together
Judy and her four children were referred to Family Promise when her money ran out after an extended hotel stay. She was recently separated from her husband and homeless for the first time in her life.
“The referral service sent me to a number of shelters, but I was so shocked at how my family would be broken up. I was frightened to leave my two young sons alone in a place like that, so I started to plan how we could all sleep in my car.” Since there are five of them, she figured two of them would sleep in the trunk. “I keep blankets in the car, so I was all prepared.”
“I was so happy when we found Family Promise.” Judy continues. “We could stay together and there was help with making plans to get back on our feet. And my children really enjoyed the volunteers that welcomed us to the churches, especially the kids. It meant so much to them at a very scary time in their life.”
Today, Judy and her children are successfully living independently. She is working and the children are all in school and doing well.
Wheels to Independence
Last year Will and Anna and their two preschoolers were coming home from Wal-Mart, and couldn’t believe it when they saw fire trucks surrounding their place. They were horrified to see their home severely damaged by flames that started in their neighbor’s duplex. “Our living room and kitchen were destroyed, but luckily the bedrooms were not so bad, so we saved some clothes, photos, and toys,” Anna told us. Unfortunately, their car was lost.
Will and Anna were instantly homeless. With no relatives in the area, they spent the night at a hospital sleeping in a waiting room. They only had $154 between them, so the next day they called everywhere to find shelter. “I called about 100 numbers, and finally was referred to Family Promise. I was scared to death of going to a shelter, because we were worried about sleeping in a big room full of cots with strangers. We were especially worried about our babies…”
Will and Anna liked the Family Promise program. “Family Promise was a blessing. They referred us to a social worker who helped us make a plan. We got help with diapers and formula. We felt safe and had private sleeping quarters. The atmosphere is so friendly and helpful, and the volunteers treated us with respect.”
Without a car, Will, a painter, had some challenges getting to work. Because Phoenix busses don’t start early enough, he decided to ride a bike. At Goodwill he bought a used bicycle. The next day he started out at 2 A.M., riding 26 miles to work. Unfortunately, the bike had a bent rim, which made riding difficult, so Steve, a volunteer at Crosswinds Presbyterian, their host congregation, surprised him with a bike in better condition. Will also helped another Family Promise guest, Bob, get a job with his painting contractor. For several days Will peddled the bike with Bob on the handlebars!
Now Will and Anna are self-sustaining and living independently. With the help of our staff, they saved to achieve their goal to move near Anna’s family in Pennsylvania where apartment rents are lower and they have family support. A donor helped them rent a U Haul truck for the move. They loaded their stuff and got a mattress to sleep in the truck on the four day trip east because they didn’t have the money for motel rooms.
Families with determination and grit like Will and Anna are what Family Promise is all about. With a little help and guidance, we know that they have a good chance of staying self-sufficient. Thanks to all of you who help us in this important mission.