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JCSUD’s CareShare program continues. The program is designed to assist eligible customers who are having difficulty paying their water utility bill because of an unforeseen financial hardship. The number of customers that can be helped is based on donations. A voluntary donation amount of 8¢ appears on the water bill, and those participating, include this small amount in their remittance. The small monthly donation from participating customers enables JCSUD to assist other customers who need a helping hand.
Sometimes we underestimate the enormity of poverty stricken families living in our community. Customers can share in the joy of giving and helping those in need through participation in JCSUD’s CareShare program.
Since CareShare began in July 2011, numerous customers have received a helping hand with their bill. What a pleasure it is to pass on heartfelt “THANKS” from recipients to fellow customers that contribute to the CareShare program.
A customer who feels their situation may qualify for CareShare’s temporary assistance with payment of their water bill (or a portion thereof) may contact JCSUD for evaluation to determine if assistance is appropriate.
In 2011 the District crafted a way to implement a benevolence program to help people who uniquely qualify for billing assistance. JCSUD serves a population near 40,000 and indeed on occasion we hear from those that are destitute or have encountered extenuating circumstances beyond their control. Since the program began over 5 years ago, over 90 percent of customers participate in working together towards the good cause of the CareShare program.
In reviewing the CareShare file and reading a few among the many, there are “thank you” notes of the sincerest kind in appreciation for lending them a helping hand. A daughter writes “God bless you all! You have no idea how much a blessing you are to my family”… she goes on to explain about her mom’s cancer and the overwhelming medical bills. Another request for assistance and their THANKS comes from a dialysis patient who was driving three times a week to White Settlement for treatment. A short note but a sobering point is made in another request because “the family’s house burned down.” Once, I personally fielded a call from a middle-school teacher in asking if there was anything that could be done for the family of one student in particular. A teenage girl was ashamed in telling her teacher that she was coming to school extra early to shower and dress because her single-parent mom was having problems paying the utility bills. This should suffice to express how CareShare indeed is working to help others. Recipients aren’t entitled to perpetual relief. The screening process is discrete and discerning to identify “unique” situations which truly merits a helping hand.
Today’s program has no recurring administrative cost and requires no line item budget. The program platforms off of voluntary contributions. Collecting and accounting for contributions is automated. The program manages to generate a modest balance whereby distributions never exceed contributions. It is not big money, but it’s working well to care for the most needy. Anyone who decides to opt-out can do so at any time. Yet having 9 out of 10 customers participating is evidence that putting-to-good-use the many “small” individual contributions is quite effective andseems to be as simple as it can be for now.
Among the customers that participate whom I’ve talked to, appreciate knowing their annual contribution of less than the cost of a cold bottled-water at the convenience store is making a real difference to those that need it most. The old adage “many hands make light work” is the lean, economic engine which runs the CareShare program. In this way it makes you an equal partner as a contributor and a potential receiver.
On behalf of those we serve, here is a most heartfelt expression of genuine THANKS! to all of you that participate in the yoke of service by sharing in a caring way; the CareShare way!
Terry D. Kelley, G.M.