Medfield Youth Outreach and Pastor Phil of the UCC explained why the Medfield Foundation’s Angel Run has become so important to Medfield families in need – this was MYO and Pastor Phil’s letter to the editor before the race –
Medfield Youth Outreach urges residents to participate in the 2016 Angel Run! Whether through running the race or the many facets of volunteer help needed, your participation makes a difference. What other event in town so seamlessly builds community? The MFI took the Angel Run on in 2012 as they saw a community event that was slated to end, that met a critical need for residents. The majority of the proceeds from the Angel Run serve residents who have come upon hard times.
The Angel Run is so much more than just a 5K race. It is a joyous event that fills so many community needs. Whether finding an opportunity to give back and volunteer, running a race that builds one’s running statistics, or enjoying a family fun event close to the holidays, participants may be unaware that this is just the beginning of how this race blesses members of the community. From its inception, a large portion of the race’s proceeds have met the needs of residents who have hit hard times through the Angel Run Fund. All of this is done confidentially through Medfield Youth Outreach (MYO) and in partnership with Pastor Phil and the staff of The United Church of Christ in Medfield. While MYO provides the screening for the Angel Run Fund requests, the UCC-Medfield distributes the funds and provides as a secondary screening source for accountability purposes. MYO is uniquely poised to field the requests for financial assistance, and form ongoing relationships with residents, through their requests, opening them up to additional services and supports that benefit their home and family. The following is a few examples of how the funds raised by the race benefitted residents over the past year. The stories have been altered to preserve confidentiality.
Merry Jo contacted the MYO office in late February. She could not pay her whole rent as so much of her income had been going to afford the child care that helps her sustain her job. “When my husband left, I went back to work. It has been impossible to find a job that pays as well as my job did before I left the workforce to raise my children. The costs of child care, my rent, utilities, and car expenses often surpass what I am bringing home. My kids have been through so much. They have lost their house, moved to an apartment and are grieving the loss of the breakdown of my marriage. I had to use part of my rent money to cover a car repair. I was issued a letter that the land lord will take me to court if I can’t pay my rent in full soon.” The Angel Run Fund stepped in to cover the portion of missing rent. MYO then met with Merry Jo to apply for fuel assistance, food resources, and child care resources that took some of the financial pressure off of the family. A thank you letter appeared a few weeks later: “Dear Angels, You all have no idea what the rental help meant to me. Beyond helping me and my kids keep our apartment, I felt less alone for the first time in a very long while. I feel like things might actually get better. Thank you again and again…thank you.”
The Hardees are long term Medfield residents. Both parents were employed and the family enjoyed a comfortable middle class life. When Mrs. Hardee got sick, she eventually had to leave her job. The care -giving demands placed on her husband forced him to step down from his job and take a lower paying position with less responsibility. The family was barely making ends meet when they came to MYO for help. They had amassed a large utility bill, that during the winter could not be shut off, but as spring arrived came the new shut off threats from the utility company. The stress from the fear of shut off was too much for Mr. Hardee to carry. “I am humbled. I never thought this could happen to us. We were just one illness away from practically losing everything. Between the medical bills, less income, and so many demands on our income as the kids get older…I never owed anybody anything and now I can’t pay for my utilities and my credit cards are to the max!” MYO reached out to Pastor Phil at UCC with an Angel Run Fund Request toward the Hardee’s utility bill. The request was met in full so that the family could divert its resources elsewhere. MYO then referred the family to Medfield Angels/Neighbor Brigade to provide meals for the family during the medical crisis and sports organizations to help with scholarships for the children. Through the Angel Run Fund’s giving significant stress was reduced for this family.
The Angel Run keeps our most vulnerable residents connected to the community and reminds them that even though times are tough, they still are valuable and thought of. Be a part of bringing this joy to the community, both through the run this December 4th, and through the year via the Angel Run Fund.
Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season,
Dawn Alcott, LICSW, Director, Medfield Youth Outreach
Pastor Phil Bauman, United Church of Christ Medfield