Rays Of Sunshine, Part 1

I'm going to put together the Success History of TBF, so folks out there can see what we've achieved in a very quick ten months.  It's been a truly emotional ride for all of us, but it's one I wouldn't have missed for all the beans in Mexico, refried or otherwise, and I know I speak for the entire group when I say that.

With eighty Successes under our belts to date, this is going to take a while, so I will very likely break it up over the course of a few posts here.  I'd like to say it'll be like waiting for the next episode of EastEnders, but I can't because in TBF nobody screams at anyone else.  Ever.   The only thing we have in common with a soap opera is that there is no end in sight.

So, here we go...

Our first Success was on 12 January 2013, when we started off by dunking a small toe in the water and helped M with £20.  It wasn't a massive amount in itself, but to M it was the difference between an empty plate and a full belly.  Sometimes that's all it takes to make a difference.

So, having gotten a taste of the warm fuzzy feeling, we decided to do it for someone else on the 18th.  Once more, it wasn't a huge amount, but it enabled our Client to put her heating on.  £30 was all it took to get her past a financial hiccup.

19 January: We started to learn something about our group's members.  We have one who loves to drive around with a HobNob hanging off a fishing rod so he can watch poor people run after it, and another who, just like the Bullingdon Club with their burning £50 notes in front of the homeless, said that he likes nothing more than melting chocolate fingers in front of them.  Well, it's all down to what you can afford to waste, I suppose.  Oh yes, and we gave £50 to John, who was struggling to feed himself and his autistic son.  Writing this reminds me that I really must find out how you attach a biscuit to a fishing line. I have some great ideas for dragging them across motorways and nuclear dumps...

On 20 January, we helped out a young mother, A, who was living on crisps so her daughter could eat properly.  At the time we were introduced to them, these two had no heating and were cuddled up in bed under the duvet, trying to keep warm.  At that time,where I live, the snow was seven inches deep and still falling.  £40 went to these Clients.

Sometimes Clients are like buses and come along in threes.  We learned that John (see above) had no gas, so we sent him a further £10 to get him warmed up.  And then we learned of a chap who had been left high and dry by the Appeals people, so another £50 went winging away to do some good.

This particular day, though, the Client's arrived as a quad.  We sent a further £50, this time as a food delivery, to two women who'd been living on Pot Noodle for weeks.

22 January saw our first encounter with W, who was really in a financial mess.  We sorted her out this time with £40 for heating.

23 January:  We committed to a £71 per month payment for a great guy.  What he was living on was having to go towards paying an electricity debt.  We cleared it two months early for him in the end.

27 January:  £50 went to one of our own members who finally reached the end of his ability to muddle through.

28 January:  We passed £80 to a lady in Basildon.

2 February:  We got to seriously kick some banker butt.  Not only did we help a mentally ill man keep his gas and electricity going with a £31 top up online, but we also helped him reclaim over £100 in bank charges that Santander had been taking from him illegally.  We are more than happy to name and shame banks that do this, especially as we have copies of the documents that prove they did.

6 February:  Client cases come up at all hours.  This one was an overnight job which saw £70 heading to a lady in Wales who had no heating and was living on the back-ends of packets of pasta.  Just pasta.  No sauces to make it taste of anything.  You have to have been in this position to know how bad it can be.  I've personally had to live on pancakes once before.  Thankfully long, long ago, but you never forget.  This is the kind of resonance that keeps me coming back to do more in TBF.

8 February:  Our first 100 pounder.  This poor woman had NOTHING.  No gas, no electricity, no food.  She did after we'd dealt with her.  Another night of going off to sleep with a HUGE smile on my face.

10 February:  One of two for the day.  We helped our first pregnant lady, and made her husband cry into the bargain with a £120 donation.

We also helped out a chap, CK, with £70 for gas, electric and a wee bit of grub.

Will leave it at that for now.  More to follow later.  This is one of those jobs best done a little at a time...

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