This is more of a vent article,but if anyone has any advice after reading this...I sure will listen.
to make a long vent short...My son owns a transportation business in NE Arkansas..two months ago he took on a state funded contract to transport a 33 year old blind man and his two sons 6 and 3 years old to their schools and return them home in the afternoon. The man was blinded in a work related accident three years ago. My son quickly realized that there was more to this contract than just transporting these three to and from their respective schools. It also included taking the father grocery shopping,he and his sons to doctors appointments,after school activities. Etc.etc. my son hired a part time driver to help with the transport,but two weeks ago this driver quit and since I had the appropriate license I agreed to help with this family until some one more appropriate could be found. I have helped my son on other occasions and actually enjoy helping him out.
This man and his sons are sweet,kind people in a very difficult position. They have 0 family to help them,physically or finically. The Mother of the children went out for a pack of cigarettes one day when the baby was less than a year old and called a month later to say she had fallen in love with someone else and had moved out of state. She has never contacted or tried to see her husband or sons again. The blind father was given full custody of his two sons. You can't help but feel something for this family. They have no one but what the government does for them and of course the kindness of strangers. The father completed blind school and now attends the local University to get a teaching degree.
needless to say it did not take very long for me to feel real compassion for this family. They are very loving toward each other and thankful for everything they do have(which besides each other) to say the least is not much. The family receives $ 124 dollars a month in food stamp subsistence. They also recieve $130 a month in a disability allowance. A total of $254 dollars. The state pays for their small house,tuition(as long as the Father's grades are kept at a certain level of achievement (he is holding a B average at the Moment) and the contract with my son's transportation service.(which is only slightly above minimum wage for the contract)....
this morning I took The Father grocery shopping for the first time.he had a budget and a list! After getting to the register and pulling out his Food Stamp credit card..we were told that he only had $8 dollars on the card..the bill for the grocery's were $109...The card should have had $132 dollars on it. He went ahead and paid for the groceries with his disability subsidy card..leaving him a grand total of less than $20 dollars for him and the boys to live on for the rest of the month. He called the Food Stamp office immediately on returning home to find out why his account did not have the funds deposited in his account. He was told that a letter had been mailed to him requiring him to update some information and when they did not recieve an answer they closed down his account..
EXCUSE ME!!! BUT WTF!!! You send a blind person a letter,not only a blind person,but a blind person taking care of two small children a letter,do not recieve an answer and you don't bother to see if they are alive? You just close down the account? You don't try to call? You don't try to send out child services to see if they (the children are okay)...just shut down the account and wait for them to contact you...Maybe I am wrong,but I feel there should have been a big red flag waving in the air or on someone's computer screen when the registered letter they sent him came back unopened. Now he has to find all the required paperwork and reapply for Food Stamp subsidy. Sounds easy enough? Easy enough if you have two good eyes or even one and someone to help you!
we can spend trillions of dollars on war in this country, or a billion on a Blimp that crashes...but we don't have the resources it appears to make a phone call or a house call by a welfare worker when a blind man taking care of a six year old and a three year old apparently falls through the cracks.
yes I am pissed,but I am also, thank goodness in a position to help this family. It isn't "just" a contract for my son's company anymore! And I will be eternally grateful that my son took on this contract because it brought me back to the reality of how damaged our social system and welfare structure has become.
Thanks for the vent time Viners and if you have any information that you can bring to this situation it will be very welcome.
Yes, there is a Santa Claus and this year BA is going to be an Elf ;-)
Sometimes we don't realize how lucky we are until life shows us how really hard it is for some of our neighbors...who don't live on the other side of the world,but right down the road.
have a good one! Love, BA