Dec 16, 2013
So, we move into March, and on the 1st we learned of a lady who, because she'd had to pay to have her oil tank refilled, had no money left for food. Thirty quid provided a well-received solution.
On the 2nd we came up against one of the really awful horror stories in the form of a post in another group of which one of our own members is an admin. We talked about this poor woman's truly horrendous situation both within and outside the Fund's discussion page and decided that we'd like to offer £150. When we put the idea to the group's members they invoked a particular Clause of our Constitution, which permits members to make donations for a specific Client. As a result of this, we ended up sending this Client a total of £260, and members who work in an advisory capacity in another group also took her under their collective wing. As our resident File Sealer likes to say, this case was a great job jobbed.
A few days' rest, and then our second pregnant lady who, in order that her existing child could eat, was down to her last chicken fillet which she was having to share with her husband. Pregnant and starving! In the United Kingdom, the 7th richest nation on the planet! £40 enabled her to go shopping to give both of them a run of proper meals. We were touched when she sent us a photo of her bags of shopping!
We had a quiet run until 25th, when we were introduced to a chap who was offered just £4 as a Crisis Loan to cover his food and electricity for a week. It's not a misprint - they offered him just FOUR POUNDS. We stuck a nought on the end and made him cry with relief when we sent him our version of a crisis loan. For a start, it's not a loan when we do it; it's always a gift.
27th, and another person hitting Facebook, trying to sell personal items in order to buy food. He was waiting for his JSA application to be processed; his mother was laid off sick and they were trying to live on her SSP. They had just £3 left when we heard of them, and a week to wait before the next lot of SSP would be credited. The member who introduced this Client told us that she had actually fed him herself several times (which statement raised some... interesting... mental images!!) so we sent the Client and his Mum £100 via our member.
Also on the 27th, we came upon this case:
The Client had lost his home due to losing benefits. He has no short term memory due to illness and so forgot to attend his Atos assessment . He'd been reduced to sleeping on a friends floor, no heating ,no money, the friend was doing his best but losing the battle to support two people on one benefit. Our member who introduced the case got him a doctor's appointment and the doctor gave him a letter to give the council for emergency housing. Even so, the Client had no warm clothes as such and the flat was freezing. He had no support, and was waiting to be referred to Social Services. He was absolutely desperate, in a very vulnerable state and was slowly slipping through the net.
We sent him £110 and our friends in the advisory group managed to get him accommodation in an hotel where he could soak up some much-needed warmth.
And that took us to the end of March 2013. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Nov 19, 2013
Considering that this uploading of Success stories has to be done when the mood is right, I could have a job for life here! Starting with the 11th February and we're still only a fraction of the way through the list that has built up since starting the fund. On this day we helped a chap who'd suffered a relationship breakdown and was waiting for his revised claim to be sorted. £50 went to him to help him and his mother stock up on a bit of food for the interim.
There are some despicable people in the world, who live by the "might is right" principle that has no place in a modern society, no matter what their circumstances might be. On 13 February, we received details of a 70 year-old woman who had been robbed by two younger people after they asked her for directions. She was aboard a mobility scooter, and they whipped her purse out of the front basket. With the considerable help of the local police, for which we are very grateful, we were able to get £70 to her to replace what was stolen.
15 February: Another £80 paid out, making a certain lady's day even brighter than the early Spring sunshine managed to do.
Also on 15 February: Just as there are despicable people, so there are also genuinely decent folk like the next chap who we helped out. He wouldn't switch his heating on because he wasn't prepared to use fuel that he knew he couldn't pay for. We sent him £50 to help him overcome his predicament.
17 February: We've come across some real horror stories as time has gone on, and the Client we "met" on this day was one of those which gave us an inkling of how bad things were likely to become. We weren't wrong to expect worse, as time has proven beyond any question at all. Today's Client was doing without heating because she had only £2.50 on her electricity meter, and she was having to sell personal effects and borrow money in order to buy food. She'd been living on what she described as "11p noodles" for some time and her hands were constantly shaking due to lack of proper nutrition. We were delighted to send her £50 to buy some proper grub.
21 February: Another day, another robbery, this time of a 91 year-old woman in the South of England. Once again, with the help of the local police, we were able to send £50 to take some of the sting out of the pain and shock that this elderly victim was feeling.
22 February: We learned of a woman who was having to move out of her own home, so she could let it in order to keep the mortgage payments up to date. Her mother had been helping her by up to £200 a month, but was beginning to feel the strain. We sent her £100 as a booster, and to take some of the burden away from her mum.
25 February: £66.06 sent as a food delivery to a lady who was at her complete wits' end, with a five-year-old to feed as well as herself. She'd been told that her appeal would take nine to twelve months to come up, and she was receiving nothing in the way of State support in the meantime.
26 February: £100 sent to a young lady who had fallen victim to a loan shark.
So, that brings us to the end of February's activity. I'll try and do the future posts to cover a calendar month each.
Oct 25, 2013
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...