Your donation to NHCO through December 31, 2018, could be matched, thanks to a $38,000 match fund raised by NHCO’s board of directors. As of December 6, there is $6,000 left to be matched!
Your kindness and generosity helps us provide free, effective, compassionate help to people who are struggling due to job loss, disaster, divorce, illness and other crises. Your help means everything to people like Barb, who struggled financially after suffering job loss, a flood and her sons being hospitalized all in one month’s time. Please read her story below.
Barb Oswald cups in her hands two photos. In one, her parents appear young and fresh-faced in their wedding outfits; in the other, they are aged and celebrating some life event. A photo of her dad, dashing in his World War II service uniform, rests on her lap.
These are the only photos she has of them. All other photos of her family were destroyed when, on July 5, muddy water raged over the 12-foot wall that separates usually mild Girty’s Run from her tiny backyard in Millvale. Within minutes it rose three feet in her basement and came within inches of entering her front door.
Her sons’ baby pictures, a doll her father had given her, hundreds of turtle figurines that she collected over the years, her washer and dryer, a lawnmower, countless household items, even a small backyard pool where the neighborhood kids played … all were destroyed.
It wasn’t an easy month for Barb. On July 3 the energetic 70-year-old nurse received word her job was ending. Two days later, the flood came. Then both of her disabled adult sons spent days in the hospital. She developed a respiratory infection. She had no one to help her muck out, and for two months had no income.
Soon she was $1,300 behind on her rent and couldn’t pay her water bill. “I was a basket case that we’d be evicted.”
Barb attended a Multi-Agency Resource Center event for flood victims. North Hills Community Outreach and another agency worked with her to get a washer and dryer and furnace repairs. She learned she’d qualify for CAP assistance for her heating bill, and that the water company would work with her on her payments. She found help paying rent…and she found lots of support.
And for the basement cleanup? “Angels!” she says. “NHCO volunteers…some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They were knocking on doors to see if we needed help.”
Barb moves about the room, touching her father’s fishing license from the year she was born, picking up a wooden turtle a friend brought from Korea. She calls upstairs to check on her sons, and welcomes her kitty to join the visitors.
“I don’t know if I would have made it without NHCO’s help,” she says. She is grateful for donors, volunteers and her community. “It’s like a family…neighbors help each other here.”