We have read that millions of Americans live from one payday to another with little or no savings to support them if they were to suffer job loss, divorce or a serious illness. But that can’t happen in Evergreen, right? In Evergreen, folks live in nice homes, and incomes are well above average.
Not totally true; you know differently. It started when you got sick. You got better, but the medical bills drained all your savings. Then, your husband left. He simply left a note saying that he was going to go somewhere else and start over. So now you are on your own and not doing very well. Your job at a fast-food place left you with a weekly check of just about $500. After getting behind on the rent, you lost the place where you lived. You have your car so that’s where you sleep now.
Thankfully Evergreen has Evergreen Christian Outreach, known as EChO, to help people in your situation. You know that you can go to the food pantry and get some healthy food, but preparing food in your car isn’t the best. You have been utilizing the EChO temporary shelter, at a local church, once a week. There you can get a shower, warm bed, breakfast and sack lunch. It’s a welcome change from the intense cold of the car, but it is only there in cold months and there are more people in need than available rooms.
EChO was there to help when your car needed repair, and good that they were because you didn’t have the money to get it fixed. They even interceded to regain your driver’s license after it was lost by multiple parking tickets obtained because of where you parked to sleep. You have now learned to avoid the tickets, but without the license you would have lost your job. The very nice lady who meets with you somehow has gotten you on to a list which might get you a new place to live. You pray for this to work, but she told you it often takes five years to get a new place. You hope you can hold on, but worry about getting sick again.
Something woke you, and you quicky realize that this was all a nightmare. You do live in one of the nice warm houses in Evergreen. You have a loving family, and your husband has a good job. “Thank heavens for my good fortune,” you think. It’s Wednesday and it’s your day to volunteer at the EChO resale store. You are one of Mary’s volunteers. Three hundred volunteers give their time because they see those who need a little help and because they know they are making a difference. You love that the leaders at EChO see those they help as clients deserving respect and compassion.
People at EChO never ask, “How did you get in this situation?” Instead, they ask, “How can we help you?” They have even developed a client advisory council to help the staff continue to improve the quality of help they provide. You know the importance of the work because you can see that the number of people who need help is increasing, yet the leaders continue to maintain or improve the services given. In your view, the case managers are amazing. They are highly educated, yet they stay here to help others. Even as their case-loads increase, they make time for anyone who needs them.
Your family is one who is proud to support EChO financially. You are happy to help. EChO was started by the Church of the Transfiguration, then joined by other local churches, and throughout the years many local institutions. Ever since those early days, Evergreen residents have generously supported EChO and its work. A community is a group of people who love and support each other…in Evergreen we call it EChO.
Jim Rohrer of Evergreen is a business consultant and author of the books “Improve Your Bottom Line … Develop MVPs Today” and “Never Lose Your Job … Become a More Valuable Player.” Jim’s belief is that common sense is becoming less common. Contact Jim at email@example.com.