Let me tell you about a friend of mine. And her day.
I think most of you here have read me posting about my asst. mgr in the bakery, Renee. I've known her for over 10 years. She worked with/for me at the gas station and then when I left, followed me to Dillon's.
She's 32. Her two oldest boys, the twins, are 16. Her youngest boy is 1. She has three in between them. 6 kids. She's a hard worker, a loyal friend. She's a fun, wonderful person to hang with and know. She loves music from the 80's and country music. She collects anything and everything that is Wizard of Oz and ever since I first met her, she's worked at least two jobs at a time.
She's not perfect. She's made mistakes.
She puts her kids first, her extended family next, her friends behind that and maybe, maybe ... herself last. After anyone else that she can help in whatever way she can.
When I had to move in two days? She showed up on my doorstep with her truck and her twins and spent her entire day off helping *me*.
Yesterday morning, her truck was repossessed.
Yesterday evening, her three bedroom duplex burnt down.
Her kids are safe and she kept telling me when I stopped by after work, *that* is the most important thing.
And yes. It is.
But ... all they have are the clothes on their back. All the school supplies, gone. All food, gone. All beds, bedding, pillows, blankets. Gone. No winter coats, no shoes, no dishes or toys or ... yes. gone.
Right now, the Red Cross has put them up in a local hotel for three nights. Our store is gathering donations. I'm trying to find a bank that will let me open a benefit account so that people that don't have spare furniture or old clothes and still want to help, can.
And this is where I come to you, flist ...
I don't ask for help. I'm not good at it. I've made my own mistakes, I've fallen and stumbled and I'm currently trying to dig my way out of problems of my own creation and I'm *not* asking for me.
I'm asking for a friend that hasn't ever had enough money or time to buy a computer and find a place like this, the community that we have. The friends that mean so much, even if we've never met in person.
You've never met Renee. All you have is my word for who she is and how incredibly special she is. How she puts my work ethic to shame, how she embodies the word compassion and how she would give whatever she could for *you* if you needed it.
I know that right now, she's getting some help. She's not thinking about her impounded truck, her late payments and the fee it will take to get it back. All she's thinking about is taking care of her kids and getting them back into a safe, comfortable, clean home. Getting them back into school. Making sure that they are fed and dressed.
But three weeks from now? Three months from now? When everyone has turned to the next crisis ... she'll still need help. Even more, probably.
When I get a bank account established for her, I'll be asking.
When I get a bid for multi-fandom fic/art/icons community opened, I'll be asking.
And every time I hug my kids and open the door to my house and cook in my own kitchen and sleep in my own bed, I'll be thinking about Renee and, yeah, I'll be asking for help.
If there is something you can do right now? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me if you have my number.
Gift cards would be great. Here in Leavenworth, we have a Wal-Mart, a K-Mart and Dillon's (part of the Kroger chain). I can give you the number to our store, if you'd like to call them directly and order a gift card for Renee. And if there is anything else you'd like to do for her and her boys, please, get in touch with me.