Ethan, Laura & Their Kids
The spirit of Thanksgiving is year-round for those most in need in our community, which is truly who we serve here at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. I’d like to share just one story of gratitude from a family living right here in Omaha, which your support has helped.
Our Helpline recently took a call from Ethan who – with his wife, Laura, a stay-at-home mom – are the young parents of four children under the age of 6. Their youngest was born just a few days ago. Worried of being evicted from the house that he and Laura rent, Ethan had just received notice that his water and gas utilities were going to be shut off, due to lack of payment. Not knowing where to turn or what to do, Ethan had called a number of social service agencies, asking for help. One of them recommended that he call the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha.
As the cold Nebraska weather was already setting in, Ethan explained that he was panicked that his home would be without heat. As Ethan told me, “We are so desperate. I just can’t bear to not have heat in our house, and especially for our kids’ sake.”
Ethan shared more of their story.
Ethan had been working full-time for a construction company for the previous 6 ½ years. At the end of a workday a few months ago, Ethan was told that the company was cutting costs, and they had to let him go. Ethan was completely caught off guard. And, in that instant, he was also unemployed. As they live “paycheck to paycheck”, Ethan and Laura were now in financial crisis. And, through no fault of their own, they were also in fear of becoming homeless.
Ethan scrambled to find work that offered a competitive wage. He eventually found a job working the overnight shift as a custodial assistant at a local hospital. Unfortunately, the hospital could only offer Ethan 20 hours a week, and the per hour rate was also less than when he was full-time. Ethan requested as much overtime work as he could get.
Between paying for food and clothes for their growing family, house rent, car payment, utilities and other life needs, Ethan and Laura simply couldn’t make ends meet. They shopped at thrift stores and visited a food pantry. Regardless, Ethan and Laura began to get behind on their bills. Ethan continued: “We ended up having to pay one of our bills one month, and then skipping the next, when we paid a different one. We hated doing this, but we really didn’t seem to have any other options. My paycheck just wasn’t enough.”
As the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha helps in financial crises like Ethan’s and Laura’s, we assured them that we could be of assistance. We also let Ethan know that our organization has a good relationship with the local utility providers, and that we’d get back to him. A simple phone call pledging our assistance was all we needed to ensure that gas to Ethan’s and Laura’s rental house wouldn’t be turned off. Working with the utility, we paid their family’s sizeable gas and water bills.
I became involved because the Society is embarking on a new program to promote more referrals from our Vincentian volunteers – on behalf of some of our neighbors in need – to professional agencies and organizations that can help them resolve the challenges that brought them to us.
We are continuing to be in touch with Ethan, as he searches for a better paying, full-time job. We also provided some gift cards to shop for newborn clothing. And we made sure that both Laura and Ethan are aware of our SSVP Food Pantry’s hours of operation to further help reduce their financial stress. Frankly, we continue to be in communication with Ethan, with the goal of ensuring that his family doesn’t face similar circumstances in the future.
At this time of Thanksgiving, Ethan and Laura are appreciative of everything that the SSVP Omaha has done for their family. “This experience of losing my job has humbled me,” stated Ethan.” But the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been a true blessing. Marty and his staff have been so kind and helpful during this terrible time in our lives. We’ve received so much support from the good people that work there. Laura and I cannot be more grateful to everyone associated with the Society. They really do care. We’ve really begun to consider them our friends.”
As our volunteers and staff continue the important work of assisting our neighbors in need during this holiday season, I am asking you to join me in offering prayers and blessings on those we serve, and especially on the family of Ethan and Laura.
I’m also asking you to consider making a generous Thanksgiving gift to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha. You can’t help but feel good, knowing that your gift will help so many families from right here in our community – like Ethan’s and Laura’s. With your sustained support of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha, we are grateful to be able to continue our relationship with Ethan and Laura, helping this little family get back on its feet during their time of need.
In addition to helping the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha provide our critical services to so many families in crisis, your gift will also provide them hope for a better future, hope that they could really use right now. The services we provide are made possible because of generous financial support from caring members of our community, like you. Please know that your Thanksgiving gift will make a real and meaningful difference in the lives of those most in need from right here in our community.
On behalf of Ethan, Laura and their family, thank you and God bless you. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!
Serving in Hope,
Gifts to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha are used to care for the people who turn to us during their hour of need and are greatly appreciated. All of our services are provided at no cost. All gifts made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Our donor information is kept in strict confidence. Our donor lists are never rented, shared or exchanged with other organizations. The stories in our letters are real. Identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy and therapeutic interests of those we serve. For more information about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha, or to include us in your estate planning, please contact Executive Director, Marty Smith, at (402) 779-8499.