By Kimberly Fish - Former Director Plateau Outreach Ministries

Originally published December 15, 2010

It was the end of a long day at work.  I was just closing up the office and gathering my things to take home.  The front door was unlocked and I was almost ready to walk out that door when Michelle walked in.  (Not her real name).

She had a frazzled look on her face, one we recognize from our work at Plateau Outreach Ministries.  “I need help” she said. “ I just went home and my electricity is turned off .”  She handed me the small white piece of paper left from the technician that had to turn the power off.  “My children will be coming home from school any minute now and I don’t know what to do”.

Michelle told me she had just received an appointment for energy assistance.  She is eligible for help with heating costs through the winter.  Her appointment was scheduled for later in the month.  She called Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to tell them about the appointment (they will usually hold a shut off until those funds are available for low income families) and was told that since the power was turned off, they needed payment in full before they could turn it back on.  “I don’t have the money to do that right now” was all she could say.  PSE had given her our agencies contact information. “Can you help me”?

The answer to that question is, yes as a matter of fact we can.  A call was placed to PSE to verify that the power was off and the bill needed to be paid in full.  We then made a pledge over the phone to PSE, a promise that the bill would be paid through our Samaritan Project funds.  Michelle and her children’s power would be turned back on that very day.

Michelle was sitting in the waiting area, as I walked up to her I again noticed the stress she was wearing, the worry for her children to come home to a dark, cold home.  I told her the situation had been resolved.  I wish each of you could experience the wonderful feeling of helping someone, like Michelle, made possible through your generous support of Plateau Outreach Ministries   

Michelle and I visited for a short time after the crisis was resolved.    Her and her children’s lives are just beginning to feel better; Michelle is reaching out for assistance and working hard to bring stability to her family.  Coming home to no electricity felt like a huge set-back in her life. Having a place like Plateau Outreach Ministries in her community, to help her family get over the small hurdles filled her with joy.

We will see many clients like Michelle this year.  We wish to thank each of you for supporting us with your contribution to our Neighbor in Need campaign.  Your contribution will touch lives in ways you can not imagine.