One of our own - a fellow worker in the war on poverty - let us know she was in trouble today. And what an honor that was.What courage it must have taken.
Sylvia has been on the frontlines for more than a decade, but none of us knew her struggles. Sure, we all knew about that wreck, but it was a couple of years ago. She seemed fine - never missed a day of work. Wrecks happen, right?
Like so often, I received a call from Sylvia today. Of course I assumed it was a partnership request - help for one of her clients. Her quivering voice didn't sound right, tho. It was Sylvia who needed the help.
Just like those we serve, it was a perfect storm. Her husband's health failed, with almost everything wrong. He lost his job. Sylvia's neck had been hurting for more than a year, but there was no time to take care of herself.
Her husband fell, broke his leg, and was on bed rest for months. Then her daughter - in medical school - was diagnosed with cancer. Sylvia was the caregiver for both, and what a terrific, tireless job she did.
Her employer was generous with extra time away. Once she nursed her husband and daughter back to stability, she took herself to the doctor. Surgery was needed immediately, before further damage was done.
Again, her employer was generous to allow her time away from work, but he couldn't pay her for that extra month of leave. Between the loss of her husband's income, her decreased pay and the medical bills, she couldn't pay her rent. She was almost 2 months behind.
She did what was probably one of the most difficult things she's ever done: she asked for help.
The word got out, we 'circled the wagons,' did what needed doing, and then some. Sylvia's rent's paid, there's food in her pantry, gas in her car, and notes of appreciation and encouragement.
We all learned something today. Thank you, Sylvia, for that privilege. We need you.