Opinion

Mrs. M called me on Monday. She had some children's clothing she wanted to donate to the INN. I told her that we could definitely use the clothes and that I'd be home after four if she wanted to drop them off. There was nothing unusual about the conversation. Mrs. M has been a regular contributor for the past five years.

At 4:15 the front door bell rang and I answered it. It was Mrs. M and she said she had five bags for the INN. Gail and I walked out to her car and gave her a hand bringing the bags inside. After I wrote out a receipt for her donation, I showed Mrs. M a copy of Gail's book, The Alternate Mommy. I told her that we were selling them for $15 each with all the proceeds going to the INN.

Mrs. M smiled politely and then said, "I'd be happy to buy a copy when things are better ... my husband just lost his job and I'm only able to work part time because of the kids." She went on to say that her husband had been an attorney at one of the big Wall Street firms.

After Mrs. M left, I started to think about her family's situation. With little income coming in, I wondered how long they could continue to make their mortgage payments. I assumed they had some savings, but if he was out of work for more than six months, would they have enough to cover the mortgage, utility bills, food, and so forth? With the economy in decline, how many firms are hiring new people? Not many, I suppose.

Most of the time, when I think about the homeless, I think about people with low income jobs, minimal education, and few resources. I realized now, that there could be a lot of families --- right here in Great Neck --- that are struggling to get by. We hear the statistics on the news, the unemployment numbers rising, the houses being foreclosed, the rising numbers of bankruptcies ---and they are just numbers, until it touches someone you know, someone who lives around the corner.

I told Mrs. M to let us know if there's anything we could do to help her. She thanked us and then drove away. A lot of families live paycheck to paycheck and it doesn't take much --- loss of a job, an illness, or some other misfortune --- to send their lives spinning out of control.

If you've had some good fortune in your life, please consider sharing it with those who haven't been as lucky. To help families in need, please make your check payable to the Interfaith Nutrition Network. Donations may be mailed to: David Golbert, 7 Lee Court West, Great Neck, NY 11024.

The INN has been helping local families who struggle with homelessness, hunger, and poverty for more than 25 years. With your support, they will continue to serve all who need assistance in these troubled times.


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