If you think that most folks who are on government assistance or who ask for donations for specific causes are just lazy deadbeats, think again.
How long would your savings last if your primary wage-earner suddenly stopped earning wages? I know a whole lot of people who pay bills when the paycheck arrives, and when they're done there's not much left in the checking account. Some people have more than that set aside for a rainy-day fund or perhaps a vacation fund that could be tapped. So, that gets you another month or so.
How easy would it be for you to find another job? If you're in your 20's or 30's, it might not be that hard. But when you hit your 40's and beyond, you find out that companies want younger folks who will work for less pay. Or you're overqualified for the entry-level positions they have open. Or, as you hit the higher numbers, they want people will potentially work for the company for a long time. They're not that interested in someone who is gazing longingly at retirement.
It's one thing to want to work, and it's another thing to be hired. It's one thing to want to work and it's another to find the perfect job with all the benefits you desire.
What would your choice be if you were paying bills and you could afford either the rent/mortgage or the health insurance - but not both? Most people would opt to keep a roof over their heads and roll the dice that they wouldn't get sick enough to warrant expensive care.
But what if they do get sick?
People who are on the very low end of the income bracket can get food stamps, free health care through medicaid, and other government subsidies. People just above that level scrape buy on their wages, pay all their bills, and don't have spare cash for frivolous spending - like Starbucks coffee, vacations, birthday presents, or proper medical care.
My friend Janet Brand, who blogs at From Cupcakes to Caviar, is living life on that edge. She has six kids, two of whom are still living at home. And one of them has special needs and will always need care. Her husband works and the bills get paid, but his company doesn't provide medical insurance for Janet.
And now she needs medical insurance, because it's the only way she can afford treatment for something that would be overwhelmingly expensive otherwise. Let's face it, pretty much any medical procedure larger than a vaccination is overwhelmingly expensive these days, unless you have insurance.
At my urging, which included threats to bludgeon her over the head (virtually), Janet started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money she needs for a year's worth of insurance premiums and to pay the deductible for that year.
She's not asking for a new nose or a tummy tuck. She's not asking for more than she needs, and she's hoping that a year of treatment will be all she needs. At least it's a good start.
Initially, she had resigned herself to letting the condition take it course, but I finally said, "do it for your kids," and she relented. If she wasn't able to care for her kids, her husband certainly wouldn't be able to do it since he would have to continue to work to support them. Chances are that her special needs son would end up in a home, since finding someone to care for him would be beyond expensive.
I've seen plenty of GoFundMe campaigns for things that were not necessary for survival - like travel or dishwashers or home remodeling. I've seen them for completely trivial things. And people get funding for those.
This campaign isn't trivial. It's ... well, it's life-saving.
If you're in the same position as Janet and every penny counts, then I'm not asking you to donate. You need the money just as much. If you can, please share this post or a link to the GoFundMe and help get others to donate.
But if you opened your wallet today and a $1 bill flew out and you wouldn't chase it, then maybe you can donate $1 to her fund. If you regularly spend $5 on fun things at the grocery store checkout, or you wouldn't think twice about buying a $4.99 toy for your kid, then maybe you can donate that $5. Just once. If you think nothing of spending $10 for movies to rent for the weekend ... well, you get the idea.
If you're living the good life and a $100 dinner is a cheap date, then maybe you can afford a little more.
You might be thinking that you don't know Janet, so how do you know this is real ... well, how do you know anything is real? How do you know that if you donate $10 to a charity at Christmas, that the $10 goes to the needy and not to the board of directors? You don't. So don't give more than you're comfortable with, whether it's $1 or $50 or any other number that feels right to you.
In order to help spread the word on this fundraising drive, I'm offering an autographed copy of my cookbook, Make Ahead Bread, to one lucky winner. You don't need to donate to enter to win. You don't need to enter to donate.
A few of the optional entries on the giveaway are for sharing links to the funding campaign. They're optional. But I do urge you to share. Please.
I may be offering extra books if donations entries and/or donations exceed my expectations.