Friday, November 10, 2006

A Friend in Deed

By Rev. Doug Freeman

Imagine you make $1800 per month and live in an apartment costing $550 per month with all utilities included. You go to work one day and that is the last thing you remember. You wake up six months later in a hospital bed. The doctors say that you have had an insult to your spinal column that will severly limit your movements. Talking is even difficult. Getting out of a chair take several minutes. If you need to go to the bathroom you better leave lots of time to get there. Your disability check was $98 per month and social security was $519 per month (total income $617).

The rent fee that looked like a good deal is now killing you. Meanwhile, an administrative "glitch" is resulting in a temporary loss of some Social Security benefits. Now your income is $256. What do you do?

The Seniors' Net is working to restore her benefits but that will take up to 90 days. Hence, we have paid her rent for two months until her benefits are restored. We deliver food from our food pantry. Due to her disability, we put the food in the refrigerator and cabinets so that her six-hour-per-day caregiver can focus on other needs. We have been working with Dallas County Housing Authority to find less expensive housing.

Meanwhile, the safest place for her to live is on the floor. Her caregiver places all the things she might need for the day on the floor around a blanket so she can reach them. That is how you spend your day.

Doug Freeman walked away from the $60 million dollar technology firm he helped found to launch The Seniors' Net, which serves nearly 3,000 elderly people in the Dallas metroplex. Since January 2003, more than 500 volunteers have worked 21,727 hours. They've provided 49,834 pounds of food and driven 28,086 miles to and from projects ranging from home repair to emergency assistance. Doug holds a Master's in Divinity from the Perkins School of Theology at SMU.

If you're looking for a service outlet in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, contact Doug at The Seniors' Net: 972-808-9893. Check it out on the web at:

(Doug was featured in my book, Little Sins, Big Problems. He has some great stories. Like the time he took a bus full of sweet but legally blind ladies lingerie shopping. That was quite an outing. What a guy! Doug would be the first to tell you there's never a dull moment serving the elderly.)

Question: Does your cup runneth over this Thanksgiving? Please consider sharing some of your time and money with those who are less fortunate!

(Photo shows Doug Freeman with Sharlee Lurks, who is pictured here recuperating after falling and spending three days on the floor. Doug's group was instrumental in providing practical assistance to Sharlee and plenty of TLC.)

1 comment:

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Doug... what a tug at the heart. Thank you for sharing. We did nursing home visits in Virginia before we moved to Texas. John and Colin were too young to remember. But we learned about life in the Dust Bowl... surviving the Great Depression... military combat in World War II... just incredible memories, insight and wisdom from some of these precious older folks. Some of their stories were just stunning.

Sad story. We picked a state facility to visit. The people there shared a small room divided in two with a thin curtain. All their earthly possessions were resident in a little two-drawer dresser. We showed up one Monday morning. It was the Monday after Thanksgiving break. There was a visitors' log you had to sign before you could enter the living area. Over a four-day holiday period... there were only three signatures on that entire log. I wish we'd timed our own visit differently.

It's a heart breaker...