A few months back, I wrote a piece about my 90-year-old neighbor and the sad state of her rented house. I briefly touched on efforts made to secure her new housing and was bowled over by the great suggestions and offers of help in getting her into better digs.
Well, thank the powers, it's done. Last week, I finally got her settled and set up in a fine, semi-subsidized studio apartment. It's fine, clean and fits the first requirement of a house: keeps the damn rain off, a lot more than could be said of her old place.
Once it appeared that the various controlling powers (HUD, HANO, the church, etc.) had grasped the implications of a 90-year-old woman living in a house where it rains inside and agreed to bump her case up the line, I wrote a brief, celebratory update, which I quickly pulled down, not wanting to jinx the deal.
For a very difficult week, that looked like a good idea. My neighbor, after having dozens of people jump through hoops on her behalf, balked, saying she didn't want to leave, that the landlady was going to fix the house, that she was too old to make a change, etc. Those who enjoy mountainscapes would definitely admire my blood pressure readings from that week.
Finally, though, we got her used to the idea and began the process of sorting, packing, moving, etc. And now she is nicely ensconced in the new joint, which she's come to like very much, bragging to her friends about the "really nice" place she scored.
My deepest thanks to all the members of this community who offered help and encouragement, and to my wonderful neighbors who all pitched in to get my friend a real home.
And a reminder...
This Saturday is the National Association of Letter Carriers' annual food drive, when your friendly postal pal will pick up your non-perishable foods from your doorstep or mailbox and deliver them to your local food bank or feeding center.
There's been a lot of debate in recent years over the words used to describe those who can't always get the food they need. Many advocate replacing the word "hungry" with "food insecure."
Fine. Whatever. The point is, nearly one in seven households in this country is made up of people who don't always know where the next meal is coming from, if at all. "Hungry?" "Food insecure?" I call it "a national shame."
My neighbor got a lucky break. With the help of a lot of people who care, she got a big hand up to a much better life.
Some of your neighbors can get the same feeling this week, thanks to your letter carrier and the good people at your local food bank.