Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Difference That Sharing Makes

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Difference That Sharing Makes

Article excerpt

OUR VIEW

The stories are gripping. There's the 59-year-old survivor of cancer, severely weakened by the disease, who cares for her granddaughter.

There's the 20-year-old single mom who was failed by her parents.

There's the 32-year-old mother of two children who escaped an abusive relationship after seven years.

The grandmother's health requires her to depend on disability benefits. The younger two women both work three jobs.

All of them struggle to survive, keep a roof over their heads and pay their bills.

But, as they told their stories to the Herald-Tribune, they expressed faith and hope for a better future -- in large part because of the charity of others.

Not so long ago, these three women and their families were in dire straits -- homeless and in crisis. Sickness had inflicted both physical and financial tolls on the grandmother and youngest mother of the three; abuse and the need to escape had similar impacts on the other woman.

They had something else in common: When they and their families were in despair, when they had no safe and comfortable place to lay their heads, they received help -- money to pay for basic bills and a safe haven at night, aid and guidance that put them on paths toward recovery.

The source of that money was generous donors to the Season of Sharing campaign. Their charity, which demonstrated faith in others, has given these women and their families -- and literally thousands of people in our communities -- hope.

Despite working three jobs, facing the challenges of raising children and existing on the edge of a financial cliff, Jennifer McGuire told the Herald-Tribune: "I'm happy. I feel like a million bucks. I'm doing it on my own. It's self-gratifying."

Megan Rhodes, who also has three jobs, said: "Even if I won the lottery, I'd keep on working. I want the best for my son. …

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