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Dear Kossacks,

Back in June, I was drowning in debt after a very difficult two years helping care for my beloved dying Papi and then helping my mom relocate after his passing  in February. But I still had my pride and my belief that somehow, with gritty belt tightening, I could handle it all myself. I was trying desperately to find more computer work or new outlets for selling my coupon business.

My gas was turned off but it was warm out and I felt I could manage without hot water and heat for a while. I was working out a deal with my generous landlady for overdue rent. I felt like I was still hanging tough. You know that feeling, when you are hanging on the edge of a cliff but stubbornly still trying to pull yourself up? That's how I felt. I have always managed alone and would find a way again.

Then my car's alternator and battery failed and it was like the straw that broke my back. And my spirits sank. My family was tapped out as had we incurred so many expenses helping my mom relocate and get back on her own two feet. I felt so alone. I had nowhere to turn.

At that low point in my life, three angels reached out to me, Nurse Kelley, FrugalGranny and Ekaterin. They urged me to put aside my pride, share my troubles and beg this community for help. I finally gathered my courage, took their advice, and wrote this diary:Do you ever feel like you're drowning? And hate to ask for help?

A few days later, Ekaterin published a diary, Reaching Out a Hand to a Drowning Kossack. To say I was overwhelmed by your response is such an understatement. Here were strangers embracing me and trying to find solutions for my problems. I was so humbled. I still am. With Kossacks' help, I was able to get my car repaired for less costs, stick with my rental agreement, and had nearly 75% of funds needed to get my gas turned on.

In July, I wrote a follow-up diary thanking you all. Kossacks, why this is an amazing community! Plus free grocery coupons! Angels had swooped in and lifted me off the cliff and I was back walking on my own. I felt like, "Yes, I can so do this." You had refreshed my spirit to dig in harder and believe times could get better.

Then my Gateway CPU died. I need a computer for my work so I had to use some of the gas funds to buy a refurbished laptop. There went some of my gas funds but I still clung to hope that I just needed a little more time.

Then my 18-year-old Magic Chef refrigerator broke down and I had to use more funds to buy a used a used one from Craig's List. There went a little more of my gas funds.

October came, and it was getting cold at night. I held out without hot water and heat, hoping I could just squeak by working harder on my couponing business, hoping for a few more bucks there while I waited for two computer projects to get approved. I cut back on food, lights, every expense I could trim back on. I still felt like I could catch up.

Then I ran out of time. Two weeks ago my landlady learned my gas is off and she's very upset. Worried about the pipes freezing and telling me I need to get gas back on asap.

I sold items on Craig's List and received two advances from clients on January work. I cannot express how deeply ashamed I feel to come up $686 short of National Grid's demand to get my gas turned back on.

I can offer weekly Sunday coupon inserts. I could mail you 5-10 copies each week for a few months and/or work with you on how to save on your grocery bills? Or if you are in the Greater Boston area, I can offer computer repair work or items I have for sale on Craigs list? I'm also pretty handy with spray painting if you could use something painted?

Kossacks, I am deeply ashamed I let you down after my positive July follow up. I just do not know where to turn in a hurry to get these funds. I'm scared this time. Really scared because my landlady is out of patience with me and I am at my wit's end.

If anyone can bring themselves to help this scared Kossack I would forever be grateful.

My paypal account is

Thank you for even reading this long diary. Thank you to my friend, Ekaterin, for her belief in me.

Note from Ekaterin: I have gotten to know scamperdo over these past months and I know she is for real. Like many of you, I have been burned in the past by fake fundraisers, and I wouldn't vouch for ANYONE anymore unless I knew their need was valid. I will be helping her again, and I hope enough of us can kick in a bit of money to help this scared woman. Thanks so much for listening...

4:27 PM PT: Thanks to your amazing generosity I have raised $150 of the $686 I need to get gas back on and appease my landlady.

If you can use plastic cups, paper plates, Edge or Skintimate, please email me or reply. I have lots of these left over from stockpile yard sales I ran this summer.

5:02 PM PT: THANKS! I have $173 of the $686!

6:02 PM PT: Kossacks are amazing. I have $238 towards my $686 needed.

6:03 PM PT: Please if you are in Mass, reply or email me for items I have on Craig's list I can trade!

6:46 PM PT: Now up to $258

6:55 PM PT: Wow $358. more than halfway to what I need to get my heat and stay in my appt. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

7:23 PM PT: Sweet Aji & Kent, thank you so much for helping me get to $413 NOW

7:54 PM PT: Kossacks, I'm in tears here. $483 wow no words left really to express how this scared, ashamed woman feels being embraced by you all.

8:20 PM PT: $558 towards $686 I need!!!

8:48 PM PT: Huge thanks to all who donated and helped me out. LSophia, I'm humbled you would share some of your bonus with me.

I made it!! Thanks so much everyone! I can get my heat turned out and I can go back to catching up on my back rent.

9:08 PM PT: Raised $718 and the little overage I'll apply to my overdue rent Ive been slowly paying back. Thanks a million, all!

Originally posted to scamperdo on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks helping each other, Positive Intention and Lovingkindness, and Community Fundraisers.

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