Freedom is a precious gift. But a job loss, illness, accident or bad decision can rob people of their freedom. Judy had a successful career until the company she worked for went out of business during the financial crisis of 2008.
“I wasn’t able to find another job because of my age and the stress from not working actually made me ill,” Judy remembered. “Then my husband died and I fell into a severe state of depression. It was a very difficult time for me.” As the years went by, Judy’s illness hindered her mobility and getting in and out of her home and even upstairs to her bedroom presented daily challenges.
Judy’s home was well kept but stairs had become a physical barrier to Judy’s freedom. She needed some conveniences to enable her to maneuver her wheel chair and to climb and descend the various stairways on the interior and exterior of her home. “I felt trapped in my home and there was nothing I could do about it.”
Good Works changed all that. The volunteers installed ramps, widened doorways and installed an exterior elevator and stairlift to help her go up and down the steps between the first and second floors of her home.
“My life is so much better,” she said. “I have freedom and I worry less.” Now Judy can get out and visit with friends and even volunteer at a local community center where she reads to other seniors. Describing her experience with Good Works, Judy shared, “Most of all, I’ll always remember the friends I made and the blessings I received.”
You can help people like Judy regain lost freedom. Ramps, stairlifts and elevators literally change people’s lives. A donation of any amount will help give people a much needed lift.
Chester County is a great place to live and work, yet many in our community struggle to get by. Limited personal and financial resources are having a direct impact on the conditions of homes, resulting in severe physical and financial hardships.
Since 2007, the Daily Local News and the United Way of Chester County have partnered on a holiday giving initiative that supports the United Way Share the Warmth Program. From Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day, generous readers can make donations to the cause. Since its inception, the Share the Warmth Program has provided 537 Chester County families with over $910,000 in home repairs and winterization projects.
Claudia Hellebush, President and CEO of United Way of Chester County, commented “United Way is so grateful for the generosity of the readers of the Daily Local News. These home repairs do much more than keep families warm. They help instill a sense of pride in the owners and show them how caring people are in our community. It’s a moving demonstration of neighbors helping neighbors.”
Homes are plagued with problems such as poor insulation, broken or inefficient heating systems, poorly sealed windows, inoperable hot water heaters, non-functional water pipes, leaky roofs and more. Many homeowners live paycheck to paycheck and are forced to spend a disproportionate amount of their income on energy bills and other emergency housing issues. These challenges are compounded during the winter months with families and individuals striving to stay safe and warm.
Share the Warmth provides people in Chester County long term fixes through major home repairs and winterization projects and short term solutions for those facing homelessness or inadequate shelter. This work often means that families can stay in their own homes – warm, safe and dry – and those affected by the elements of winter are protected.
Readers can find video testimonials from grateful homeowners from years past on United Way’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/uwchesco.
Contributions in any amount are welcome and greatly appreciated. Please make checks payable to United Way of Chester County and send to 495 Thomas Jones Way, Suite 302, Exton, PA 19341, Attn: SHARE THE WARMTH. Readers can also donate securely online at www.GivetoSharetheWarmth.org.