April moved to Seattle from California in the 70’s and never looked back. As single mother of four, she had to work hard to make it and was always encouraged by the opportunity and beauty that the Pacific Northwest provided. April worked many different jobs but spending time with children had always been her passion. In 2009 she opened a day care in her home and looked after the toddlers in her neighborhood.
In October of 2012, April came home to discover that a broken pipe had caused flooding in her basement and playroom, the most functional areas of the daycare. The damage was significant and the daycare had to close. With little help from her landlord or renter’s insurance, the flood left April with thousands of dollars in repairs and no income. Getting the repairs finished has been further complicated by the onset of medical problems and the accompanying bills.
Although things have gotten better for April, she is working two part-time jobs, money is still tight. In December of 2014, April applied for Energy Assistance to help keep her gas on. Thankfully, Byrd Barr Place had Bridge the Gap funding and was able to pledge the $280 needed to keep April’s gas from being disconnected. “I am so thankful for all of your help, I wouldn’t be able to make it without you.”
Bernice applied for Energy Assistance and assumed that her holidays would be warm and comfortable after receiving a new delivery of heating oil. Thankful for the warmer than usual weather that Seattle was experiencing, she was happy to be able to use her furnace sparingly so that her oil would stretch as far as possible. During a cold snap, Bernice decided that she needed to maintain consistent heat and dialed up the temperature setting on her thermostat. Curiously, she didn’t hear the usual sounds associated with her furnace starting. After the furnace failed to produce heat, she began to panic. “I didn’t know what to do!” she said. “I’m 86 years old and I need my heat. I called Byrd Barr Place because I knew that they would be able to help me.”
Byrd Barr Place’s Energy Assistance Program works with local heating companies, many of which provide heating system repair to their customers. We made a call to Sound Oil and who sent a technician over the next morning. The technician discovered that Bernice’s electrical panel had failing wiring going to her furnace that needed to be adjusted to get the heat back on. Because of Bridge the Gap donations, Byrd Barr Place was able to cover the $328 cost and authorized the technician to make the repairs on the day of his visit.
Bernice has lived in her home for over 50 years and does everything that she can with her small Social Security income to keep her home habitable. “I sure am happy that you were able to get that old furnace running! I wouldn’t have been able to afford to do it myself. Thank you and Happy Holidays!” Bernice said excitedly.
Byrd Barr Place’s fall newsletter is here! Read about the new collaborative coalition that is examining the racial inequities for Blacks in Washington State; see some fabulous shots from our 50th Anniversary Gala and Auction; check out what the students at Lake Washington Girls Middle School have been up to; and learn how you can support Byrd Barr Place this fall (spoiler: it involves having a beer with us!).
We have one thing to say…and that is thank you to all of the generous people and groups who supported our Groupon Grassroots campaign that ran from July 31 – August 7 to raise support for the kids in Byrd Barr Place’s Food Bank. Your generous donations helped us raise $2,674 to provide 764 sack lunches for Byrd Barr Place kids! This community effort also helped promote awareness of Byrd Barr Place’s mission and will get us loads of smiles from happy children. Thank you!
A true “child of the 60s,” 72-year-old Lorraine Campbell is a warm, upbeat, free-spirited woman with a wealth of life experience. She is a three-time cancer survivor. She’s also a published author, and is currently working on a memoir which she hopes to fund through an Artist Trust Fellowship. Yet despite living life to the fullest, Lorraine can barely afford to eat. She lives on only $710 a month in Supplemental Security Income with $100 a month in food stamps. She can afford to spend $1 on each meal. (more…)
School’s out, and one long sunny day stretches into another…but for many low-income families that rely on the free and reduced-price lunch program during the school year, the summer months can increase their food insecurity. For the kids in our community, this should be a time for playing outside, not worrying about their next meal. You can help! For just $7, you can support our Groupon Grassroots campaign and help our Food Bank provide sack lunches to kids this summer.