Ramiro Perez is a 61-year old veteran of the Vietnam War (Marine) who is a hospice patient due to Congestive Heart Failure. He now is responsible for two of his grandchildren, 8 and 10 years old, due to his daughter being in jail (we do not know the reason for her incarceration). We do know that this will not be a short-term jail sentence. Ramiro is very proud and has been self-sufficient as possible even with his declining health. He is now totally responsible for the two grandchildren and commented, very much out of character, that he dreads Christmas because the children will have no presents. Recently he had to have work done on his electric wiring which caused him to have no heat or electricity for his home where he and the children live. At the time he hired a local electrical repair company because we were having a cold front (with snow!) and there was no heat.
Again, we emphasize that this is a proud widower who would never ask for anything for himself, but recently he expressed his depression to our social worker about the grandchildren's situation.
Using the funds provided by the Interim Foundation, Social Worker Angelique Perez met the two grandchildren N'Ya and Niaco along with their Uncle Ray at Bealls on the Thursday before Christmas. There we fit both for new shoes, tried on clothes in order to fit them for a pair of jeans each plus two new shirts each. (This was a trial run so we could learn their sizes.) The children were very happy, not knowing this was only the beginning of treasures for them.
After they left, Angelique and I (Chaplain Elizabeth Holder) bought another pair of jeans for each child plus several other blouses and shirts. Then the following day I went to WalMart and bought fun "stuff" such as a science project for Niaco and an artist's kit for N'Ya. We were able to get the handheld video game and digital camera that Ramiro had said he thought they would like. Batteries, warranties, memory cards, and a few incidentals rounded out the gifts which we giftwrapped. On Friday I bought a honey-glazed ham with vegetables, cheese rolls, etc for their Christmas dinner. The balance of the money (about $300) was dropped off to Ramiro to use to help with his electrical repairs. We were rewarded with hugs and words of thanks from our patient.
Thank you, thank you, for allowing us to do such a good service for one of our "special people."