Getting by the fire
Organized by: Jimmy Bianco
I'm a 27 year old father with an amazing girlfriend and 3 great kids. I have a decent job that I started a year ago which I am immensely happy with. We had been having some tough times but who hasn't right? We were making it through with having to put very little on my credit cards, and in July of last year my GF was finally able to get a part time job to help with expenses, GREAT! I thought life was turning around for us, the dream of owning a home is still one I am trying to cling to. Around comes September 18th, 2014. My girlfriend is off at work and my son is in his bed, the girls are sitting up with me playing on the computer while I play a new game I had gotten. All of a sudden we start to smell smoke. I open the door to our laundry room (which just so happens to be next to where I am sitting), and it's coming from the dryer. I open the dryer to take a look and a few moments later this smoke turns into flames shooting out of the dryer! I hurry the children out the door and take off running to get my son out of his crib. I call 911 while running up the stairs and the fire departments shows up 5 minutes alter. All of us escape unharmed and their mother leaves work early to be with us. The red cross eventually puts us up in a hotel for a few days while we try to figure things out. Thanks to being so tight on funds for so long, our renters insurance has lapsed so we were SOL on having any kind of assistance outside of the Red Cross. Thus begins the spiral downward for us. It was at this point that we weren't sure what we would do as far as being able to afford even getting into another place. Thankfully due to our family and giving us money we were able to get into a new home. Now we had a home but we had much to replace as though the fire damage itself wasn't as bad as it could've been, the smoke damage was absolutely horrendous and anything down in the main living area was done for. We lost everything ranging from piles of clothing, kids toys, dvds, movies, bedding, electronics and mattresses. Our old landlord refused to return our security deposit, despite a fire report and two fire investigators telling him that the incident was not my fault, it was the fault of a defect which they had seen many times before. I took him to court over the matter and the judge ruled that he did not have to return anything to us, which was a direct result of him purposely lying on the stand regarding what he was told from the fire marshal and investigator, but without any proof of the conversation I had no leg to stand on. To make matters worse, the part time job that my girlfriend had fired her for taking off of work for 2 weeks while we were homeless so we were once again back to one income with many things to replace. Out came the credit cards, before I knew it things had snowballed by just trying to survive. I went from a measly 4k in debt from a small loan for vehicles when my son was born, up to almost 25k. Some of that could've been avoided, but what is a man/father to do when it's Christmas time after having such an event with 3 children? Of course I made the sacrifice to get the kids things they wanted, hopefully that's something any parent can understand. But before I knew it I was using the credit card for bills every month and they were quickly maxed out just to afford to get groceries for a family of five or keep our heat on in the winter time. Somewhere in all of this I swallowed my pride and reached out to the State of Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare for assistance. The girls were promptly given a reduced lunch, which was fantastic as it was cheaper for them to buy lunch then to buy what was needed to make lunches! However, the letter they sent to me for the interview for the assistance arrived the night AFTER the interview was to take place. I called the phone number as instructed in an attempt to reschedule, and then I called again..... and again...... and again..... and again. All attempts were in vain, I never ONCE received a phone call back from anyone with all the messages I left. With my back getting closer and closer to the wall, and being inspired by stories such as this: http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/detroit-s-walking-man-surprised-with-new-car-ending-his-33km-commute-1.2227187 I decided to attempt to make a gofundme and reach out to different media outlets. Surely if a man whom didn't ask for help could see such generosity, then a family of 5 that is desperate might be lucky enough to find people with a heart to help us. My efforts however were in vain. I emailed all the local newspapers, I emailed news stations, I even went as far to try and email some local businesses or businesses known for donating to the public. It was all to no avail. Who could really blame them however, to them I probably just seemed like I was trying to scam them and make a quick buck to run away with. At this point, I am drowning in debt and I can't even afford to pay all my bills with the credit cards maxed out. As I type this I'm late on two credit card payments, and my cell phone bill is 3 weeks late with another credit card payment due in 2 weeks that I will likely have to pay late. Our electric is late as is our gas and sewer bills. What is a man to do at this point? Everyday it's a choice between paying a bill or getting groceries, with my son still in diapers and two growing kids money goes quickly. So I ask: What am I to do? I've tried to do everything the right way, and when that didn't I tried to ask for help from the State. I work hard and am trying so hard to stay strong but I really don't know how much longer I can do it for. I'm 28 years old and worry almost non-stop about this. What happens when the well is COMPLETELY dry? What if I can't afford food for my kids? What if I have to declare bankruptcy? Well there goes my hopes and dreams of owning a home . What do you do when you feel like a failure? When all you want to do is break down because you can't do the job that a man is supposed to do, which is take care of your family? I feel like a failure as a father and provider. I've tried my best to beg for help and seek it out, but no one seems to care. What is there left for me to do? They need to eat, we need to survive. Please help us. I don't know what else to do.