By Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center Director Beth Foster
It was only as we were leaving that we learned the woman, with her 6-week-old baby and 3-year-old child, had walked five miles in the 90-degree heat to meet us.
Mercy Junction Council Member Maddie Nix and I had met her at EPB, the Chattanooga electrical utility, to pay her $110 electric bill. She had appealed to Mercy Junction for help the day before. The power to her small apartment would have been turned off at the end of today if the bill hadn’t been paid. It’s hot in Chattanooga, Tenn., in July — especially in a small apartment with an infant and a toddler. Too hot for anyone to be without power.
And, it was hot outside today.
Maddie and I both mentioned how nice the air-conditioned lobby at EPB felt when we came inside after our brief walk from the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned building.
We had no idea that the woman and her children had walked through that heat for five miles so they could keep their power on.
It was only when we walked outside and we asked how she was getting home that we learned she’d walked. We drove her and the children back to her apartment — a 2-minute air-conditioned trip by car that showed how different conditions are for some of our sisters and brothers.
Being poor is hard work. Day in and day out, trying to figure out how to get and do and survive what those in more economically advantaged positions never have to think about.
Mercy Junction is able to help some folks each month with items like utility bills, groceries, temporary housing, bus passes, etc. because of donations to our benevolence fund. Please consider a donation so we can help the next person in need.
Donations can be sent by Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center, 1918 Union Ave., Chattanooga TN 37404.
Image: Chattanooga from Lookout Mountain, By Keegan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2201977