Meet Kathryn and Andrew, a Senior Couple
We first met Kathryn and Andrew last spring, at the beginning of COVID. They appeared one very chilly morning in the Encompass parking lot, masks on, in a line needing groceries, tearful and afraid, Because of COVID, all food distribution immediately took place outside.
In that brief first visit under the tent, we learned they had already been living in their car for a year. Life was hard for this older couple, yet, with a 35-year marriage under their belts, they were committed to see their journey through.
You see, Andrew had been diagnosed with stage-4 bone cancer. In the face of being told he had 3 months to live, they continued to find ways to get him to his treatments. Can you imagine going though chemo and suffering the side effects living in a car through a variety of weather events and extreme summer and winter temperatures?
Then, if things couldn’t get any worse for this senior couple, their car died. There was no money for repairs. Last March/April, most businesses were trying to figure if they could stay open and how, both logistically and financially. Thankfully,their car was parked in a safe place where they could walk to
Encompass when they needed help.
One day, as if a gift had come straight from heaven, someone gave them an RV to live in! Compared to the cramped quarters they had endured; they now celebrated the spacious and private
new dwelling place! They continued to keep it parked close by to stay connected to us, yes a place of provision, but also a place of friendship, support, encouragement, and prayer.
Without a drivable car, they continued to walk for groceries,taking only what they could carry. Their food choices changed once they had refrigeration and a stove in their RV! Hot meals for them, once luxuries became available and the new norm. We were no longer resourcing flip-top cans and packaged items that didn’t need cooking.
There was hope as Andrew continued to outlive his 3-month diagnosis. He filed for Social Security Disability in hopes that it would help them financially. Certainly, he could not work. The Disability combined with promised stimulus checks, they were sure they would be able to move into an apartment and eventually replace their car.
Now, one year later, their hope is waning. The last report was that the cancer has spread through Andrew’s body. Although the Disability claim has been approved, the checks still have not started.
It has been difficult for them to stay strong through their many challenges. Yet, they try to keep their faith.
This is just one family’s story of those we help. They are not just food clients, they have become friends who continue to struggle and need help.
Although somewhat different from the stability clients we work with, their answer is not in helping them find a job or even teaching them about money management. What they need now most is friendship, discipleship, and respect.
We haven’t heard from them now in a few weeks, so we are concerned. We hope Andrew hasn’t died. We hope that Kathryn will let us know something soon. As much as we love to share our success stories, sometimes it is just as important to share the unresolvable struggles.
Kathryn and Andrew are clients within our “Senior Program” which qualifies them to get food once a week.
Do you know of other seniors who struggle to put food on the table, many times behind needed expensive medicines or even laundry detergent? Call us or send them to us. There are a few qualifiers we can easily explain. We are happy to help.