United Way

CARE Plus Program – Offering Assistance That Leads To Stability

Posted on

UNITED WE WIN by helping households and families survive a difficult time. We want everyone to have an opportunity to achieve stability in their lives. United Way of Jackson County in cooperation with Consumers Energy supports and operates the CARE Plus Program, connecting low-income households with utility assistance. The program offers gift cards to individuals willing to share their story or post helpful information in a private Facebook group for those enrolled. Joan qualified for assistance with her natural gas bill, participated in the Facebook group, and was randomly selected to receive a gift card. 2017 was not an easy year for Joan and we thank her for sharing this story with us.

I so feel the need to let you guys know not only how much I appreciate you, but why. I received my gift card today. I got to get gas and food. Both of which I had none of, prior to the mailman’s visit. Literally, on fumes for both cars and tummies. I’ve had one of the worst years of my life. I had 30 days to move from a place I’d lived in for 15 years. Before that, my car was totaled by someone else. I got very sick, one condition lead to another and then more complications. I lost over 60 pounds in just a few months.

There have been a lot of small tragedies here and there throughout the year, but the worst of all was Barry, my fiancé and the love of my life. He was my rock, with me through thick and thin. He passed away suddenly, and there isn’t one second I don’t miss him.

Mentally, physically, emotionally and financially, this has been a devastating year. I was just drained and without hope. Lots of unexpected hardship and expense. There have been days without food and nights without sleep. Then a couple little miracles happened. First I was approved for assistance with my gas bill through CARE. The heat is staying on, and I’m able to manage the payments. Then the gift card appeared in my mailbox. I couldn’t have been more excited and grateful. What this group does, is my therapy! Just being there for each other with suggestions, help, just to talk to, it’s amazing. Yes, things are rough, but I feel a little less lonesome about it. How can I thank everyone for that? Words aren’t enough. But when I say I’m grateful? Boy, DO I MEAN IT! Big hugs and much love to everyone!

Out of respect for Joan’s privacy, names and a few details have been altered. Over the years the CARE Program has helped households stay warm and keep their lights on, it has helped families regain their stability.

Help others like Joan.

Read more Stories of IMPACT.

Subscribe to IMPACTS!