Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The local newspaper here runs a charity, Lend-A-Hand, which gives assistance to people in need who can't get help anywhere else. Usually it's something like help with prescription medication costs or help with rent if someone has been laid off. The newspaper prints anonymous "case studies", along with the names of people who have donated money, if they wish to be identified.

In today's case study, a couple who got flooded out in June had more than $100,000.00 in damages to their home and had to move into a FEMA trailer. Then the paper states, "Even though their income was significant and normally led them to live a comfortable life, (emphasis mine), they were now desperately seeking help from whomever they could get it, just to make it day to day."

My question is, why? Why, if these people have a significant income, don't they just go to the bank and get out a loan, instead of hitting up local charities? And if their home had more than $100,000.00 in damages, that means that the home was worth more than $200,000.00 to begin with, or else it would have been marked for demolition by the local municipality (the more-than-50%-damaged rule), and around here, $200,000.00 will buy you a very nice home. Heck, $70,000.00 will buy you a nice home around here.

The article continues, "They had received help from FEMA and New York state, but still had not gotten enough help to be able to afford paying for the flooring supplies necessary for their home." The article goes on to say that Lend-A-Hand contributed money toward a supply of flooring materials.

Again, why? Literally hundreds of families in this area were affected by the June flooding, many of them who did not have the proverbial pot to pee in before the flooding, let alone after. And yet this couple, with a significant income and a house worth more than $200,000.00, after receiving help from FEMA and the State, were right there with their hands out.

I know that I don't know the whole story of this couple's particular situation. I also know that I'm not donating any more money to Lend-A-Hand unless I find out. I donate to Lend-A-Hand, even though I don't have much myself, to help people even less fortunate than I am, not people who have significant incomes and live in $200,000.00 homes.

That's my rant for today.

Quoted material courtesy of the Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton, NY, December 5, 2006 edition.