Looking for a Tangible Way to Help a Family in Need?
PLEASE share this message wherever you feel led to do so. I don't ask often, and this could be life-changing for at least one family. I spent several hours composing the message below with my wife, Pam. Yes, I realize it's long, but I would encourage you to spend the 5 minutes it will take to read through it. YOU CAN HELP.
If you'd like an opportunity to have a real, tangible impact on a family this Christmas, please consider helping me spread the word and/or donating to help a homeless family that we've known for just over four months as we seek to provide a sustainable housing solution for them. You could help answer many prayers.
In an effort to provide some background information and something a bit more tangible for your giving, here is my wife's account of how we originally met this sweet family:
"It was a Sunday afternoon in late July. I had just dropped off my friend from taking her family to church, and as I came to the intersection of 35 and 183, I saw a man on the corner holding a handwritten sign. All I could read as I passed by was "...we don't know anyone in Texas..." I always look to see what cash I have when I pass by homeless people on the corner, and figure that is what God provided. In the tiny change drawer in the car was one quarter, so I thought, "Okay, God provided a quarter for you today." As I handed it over, I heard, "Thank you." I was struck to the heart. It was the one of the most sincere expressions of gratitude I have ever heard. That is not the way you thank someone for a quarter. That is the way you thank someone for saving or changing a life.
Now that I was beginning to feel true concern for this man, I opened the window and asked if he needed to use the phone. He said no, but they needed money to pay for the hotel they were staying in. The light turned green and I told him I would be back. I pulled the car over to the parking lot across the street and gestured to him to come over and talk to me.
It was VERY hot outside, so I asked him to sit in the rear passenger seat of the van and let the A/C cool him off. I began asking questions, and he told me a story of a family that spent all their money on a trip to try to start a better life here in Austin. His wife was going to school, and they were having trouble working because of the need to care for their child, and they had had little luck getting any kind of help from the system.
I went in the hotel and gave help with the hotel bill, and asked them to call me if they needed anything. The clerk didn't ask my name, but if he had, I was prepared to just say, "Samaritan."
When we began to get to know them, we found that we liked them a lot. We cheered each other up and encouraged each other. They have become our dear friends now, and all because we did what Jesus said, "Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:30-31"
And now more details from me (Jason):
This family consists of a husband, wife, and their 8-year-old son. In 2005, they lost pretty much everything in Hurricane Katrina, which started things on a downward spiral, including their housing situation. They lost some of their personal records (both official and personal copies), which resulted both in additional legal hassles AND problems working within the "system" (Medicaid, food stamps, disability). Both parents suffered physical injuries in different circumstances as well. They moved to Texas from Georgia back in June/July so that she could pursue an opportunity as a chef at a prestigious culinary school which gave her a full-ride scholarship. They also wanted to start their lives anew and get away from some very bad influences in their other state.
All three family members have medical needs which require ongoing medication. Frankly, their son can only attend certain public schools because very few schools have the capacity to meet his special needs. While they would love to stay in the school he currently attends, this may or may not be possible, as the current housing venue (an acquaintance of mine) is only good through this month.
The wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) two months ago, yet she is still not receiving treatment for this illness, to everyone's surprise. MS comes in spells, so sometimes she is able to walk and function normally, while other times she is confined to a wheelchair for weeks and in terrible pain. She often passes out without notice.
Since we met them in late July, I think she's been to the hospital at least five times and she's currently hospitalized. She is in the midst of trying to get disability income approved. I haven't known anyone more worthy of receiving this particular benefit.The husband needs medication, but it's not easy to obtain without a visit to the ER and a huge monthly cost. Both the wife and son have now been approved for Medicaid (very recently), but the medication for the dad is cost-prohibitive until we can get Medicaid for him. I covered some of his medication costs and our church reimbursed for part of it, but it's simply unrealistic to pay the full amount each month without the Medicaid helping. Food stamps are in place in another state, but not yet approved for Texas for them. As a side note, the system is much more difficult to work within than you can possibly imagine unless you've been in real poverty yourself.
Thankfully, dad just started a new job four days ago, so this is exciting news for all of us.
They are attending our church now, having started there in August, and we see them often through the week. We've become close friends, and I really enjoy spending time with them. I truly feel blessed that God brought them into our lives. I would certainly consider allowing them to live with us, but since June, we've been housing another family in our home that had nowhere to go, so we simply don't have the room here.
GOAL: My hope is to purchase a used mobile home for $10,000 and get it moved to one of the local parks nearby we found which seems lenient with regard to both credit and the age of the homes they allow. The cost to move this will be around $1800 and the cost to hook up utilities is already covered by the park, so our total need is $11,800.
I'm confident that my friends will be able to pay the monthly rental fee within a couple of months for the lot (roughly $430 + utilities) once we accomplish this. Apartments aren't really an option for them, because of credit issues and the fact that the ones that seemed like real options will not allow a co-signer. Hotels are cost-prohibitive (cheapest decent place is $1700/month). Obviously, we would also welcome the donation of a mobile home in halfway decent shape if you have any contacts for this.
Going forward, my intent is to use this property for similar situations (i.e. homeless families) if this family moves on to something else later.
So, there you have it. At this point, I've raised $7693, and I'm awaiting a handful of other donations of unspecified amounts, so we're getting really close. I intend to share this story on Facebook, here, Twitter, and with a few friends from church. I hope that the power of social media (and prayer) can get this story in front of the right people. I think we can make this happen. If you don't know me already, I would encourage you to research with any mutual friends that we share and come to your own conclusions. We currently assist 5 or 6 needy families locally. I can assure you that this is a worthy cause, and we'll make it happen with God's help.
Quickly about me: I am a Christian, husband, father of four terrific kids, deacon in the PCA church, real estate broker, and friend to the friendless.
We are accepting donations of ANY size via PayPal or by check (or cash, if you are local and want to meet). If you want to donate via PayPal, our address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to me (Jason Crouch), and send it to my office address: 3636 Executive Center Drive, #200, Austin, TX 78731.
Thanks in advance for ANY help that you can provide. If you'd like to call me with any questions offline, my cell phone number is 512-796-7653.
- Jason Crouch