2016 Keystone Update

2016 Keystone Update

high-angle-view-of-a-girl-lying-on-a-hospital-bed1Alone in the early morning hours outside her five year old daughter, Sophia’s, hospital room, Amanda slumps to the floor and finally allows herself to cry. The burdens of the last year are too much to hold inside any longer. Being a single mother raising a daughter with a chronic genetic disorder that requires daily treatment and care is very hard.  But no matter how hard it got, Amanda always had the help of her mom. They were a team and together they cared for Sophia and managed to make ends meet.

While Amanda worked cleaning offices, her mom would take care of Sophia and make sure she had her daily treatments and exercises in their small apartment. The medical expenses for Sophia were large, but together they were making it. But that all changed last February, when Amanda’s mom unexpectedly passed away.

The loss of her mom was devastating for their little family both emotionally and financially. With the added expenses of a hired caregiver for Sophia, and overwhelming medical expenses there was just no way for Amanda to pay all the bills.

Amanda hadn’t allowed herself to mourn her mom’s death–she just worked more hours to try to provide. Tonight, with Sophia back in the hospital, she could not hold back the tears. All her best efforts were not going to be enough.  Earlier that morning, she had found what she feared was coming–an eviction notice in her mailbox.  The landlord had been patient, but she knew this time there would be no extension.  And now they were going to lose their apartment.  Who could help them? Where could they go?  How were they going to make it?

Could you imagine what it would be like for your family or someone you cared about to be in this situation? Sadly, in our local community, the challenges of housing instability and poverty are real. Over 975 of our local neighbors are presently struggling with homelessness, and 1 in 5 of the students in our local schools are at risk for food insecurity.  Twenty-three percent of our local community members are living below the poverty level here in Upper Bucks and Montgomery Counties. These are alarming statistics.

Keystone’s housing case managers assist over 200+ individuals per month who are struggling with housing instability and related issues in Bucks and Montgomery counties. This number has been on a sharp increase over the last 2 years. Keystone provided emergency shelter to 15 families last year including 22 children.  Through temporary and ongoing housing, Keystone provides a safe place to live for 110 individuals per month (47 adults and 63 children) that desperately need help.

How heart breaking it is to think that some of our neighbors and their children go to bed hungry. Each month Keystone’s Food Pantry supports 444 local families (526 adults, 382 children, and 119 seniors) with quality healthy food.   For these families, the Food Pantry enables them to have consistent food to eat as they strive for financial stability. Keystone’s Summer Student Aid Program helped 400+ students at risk for food insecurity over the summer months and the Produce Partnership provided in-season fresh fruits and vegetables from local community members’ gardens.

Could you imagine looking for a job to support your family without a high school diploma or not being able to speak/understand English? This is why Keystone Opportunity Center provides an extensive education program. Keystone’s educational programs are having an amazing impact on many families as they strive to rise out of the poverty cycle and seek advancement in the workforce.  Presently 344 students participate in our ESL and family literacy programs, along with 70 students in the G.E.D. program.

Keystone is honored to be the vehicle for which our local community helps provide food, housing, and education to those facing challenges. With the ever-growing needs in our community, this year more than ever, Keystone Opportunity Center needs your support. We ask you to please consider donating to help your neighbors in need through Keystone Opportunity Center. Please don’t let families like Amanda and Sophia face challenges without support.   Your gift truly can make a life-changing difference.   We encourage you to give a special-reaching gift this year to help Keystone in this challenging financial climate. With your help, Keystone can continue to provide these services that our local community so desperately needs.

For your convenience, we have enclosed a return envelope. Checks can be made payable to Keystone Opportunity Center. Online donations can be given through our website at https://keystoneopportunity.org/donation/  please click on the General Donation button. With your help, Keystone can continue to provide this aid that our local community so desperately needs.

Thank you for your support and dedication to impacting lives in our community with help and hope. The warmest holiday wishes from all the staff, volunteers, and families at Keystone Opportunity Center to you and your family.

Best Regards,
Jeff Miles
Development Director
Keystone Opportunity Center
215.723.5430 ex.121