Written & Compiled by Julie Sage
Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes: Whether it is holding a child’s hand to cross the street safely, or just a hand to hold in sorrow or celebration, or a hand up from life’s challenges and hardships. Life isn’t always easy or predictable, and thankfully Assistance League of Greater Placer’s Community Assistance program is here to help!
Back Row: Mary Ellen, LaVerne, Vicki, Carolyn, Julie, Kathy. Front Row: Gerry, Suzanne, Meredith. Not pictured: Kelli, Sharon.
Our ELEVEN members who serve on the Community Assistance committee offer kindness, compassion, and encouragement when they extend a hand-up to people in need throughout our Greater Placer communities. They also get to play a part in wonderful heart-warming stories.
Story ONE: (from Suzanne)
I had a request from Unity Care for a replacement bicycle for an 18-year-old foster youth living on his own in a shared apartment. When we met he shared that the secondhand bike he was currently using was given to him by a friend who also got it handed down to him. He kept repairing it when it would break down but lately the brakes were becoming a safety issue making it unstable and unpredictable.
He said that on busy roads the bike was his main source of transportation to get to his job as a dishwasher and to get to his classes at Sierra College. When we went to a local retail store he was able to try out bikes until he eventually chose a suitable, dependable bicycle for under $100. In the parking lot, the smile shown and gratitude expressed before he hopped on his bike to ride home was a moment I will never forget. The knowledge that the Assistance League had helped him with safe reliable transportation to continue his journey filled me with satisfaction.
Story TWO: (from Vicki)
My favorite request has been helping a disabled woman move from Auburn to Lincoln because her rent was raised and she could not afford it. I rented a U-Haul and coordinated with members from a local church in taking her, and her belongings, to an apartment in Lincoln. The church youth group helped with the packing and unloading. When I tried to reach her about a change in timing for the move, she did not answer her phone. After several attempts, I drove to her apartment to do a “safety check” and make sure she was okay. Thankfully she was okay. She was extremely hard of hearing and had lost her hearing aids. I found them and she was good to go.
Story THREE: (from Kathy)
A 90-year-old wheelchair-bound Auburn woman was ill and needed help paying for the prescribed brand name drug. Her insurance company had denied the expense and she was trying to get an exception from them, but it would take 30 days. She needed it now. She found out that not all pharmacies carry the brand name drugs as there is very little demand and the remainder of their large order would be wasted. She finally located a pharmacy in Roseville who would special order it for her. Since the woman couldn’t drive, I picked up the prescription and delivered it to her in Auburn. I stayed to visit with her for a while and she was very appreciative. She later contacted me regarding leaving her furniture to our Assistance League Thrift Shop when she dies.
The Community Assistance committee works diligently in maximizing its financial resources and giving special attention for the best outcome for each recipient. The type of help they provide is varied. These are some of the things people have needed:
Firewood, tires, refrigerator, baby stroller, assistance with payment towards a dental crown, rent assistance, wheelchair, wheelchair ramp, utility bill assistance, medical necessities (pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff, wheelchair batteries), a lockbox in which to store a spare house key in case of an emergency, and helping three graduates from Acres of Hope set up their apartment by supplying beds, linens, and kitchen items.
Originally called Community Outreach, our Community Assistance program began in 2008-2009. That fiscal year FIVE volunteers spent $1830, providing goods and services to 14 individuals who were referred by 3 Placer County agencies. As our chapter membership and fundraising efforts increased, so did the committee and its budget. In 2011-2012 the TEN member committee worked with 8 agencies, responding to the needs of 48 people, and spending $8985.
This past year ELEVEN volunteers collaborated with 11 agencies to fulfill emergency needs requests. The committee worked over 600 hours serving 67 persons for a total budget of $12,267.
The requests to help those in our Placer County communities, who are experiencing a significant need, continue in 2017. The Community Assistance committee is researching additional agencies with whom they can collaborate. Our volunteers are a very valuable resource and ready for the challenge. This vital program exemplifies our Assistance League of Greater Placer’s mission of putting “caring and commitment into action”.
Remember, everyone needs a helping hand sometimes!
We are here to help!