Canandaigua resident Joseph Green recently lost his job and discovered he needed a little bit of help in order to make ends meet.
Luckily, Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes was there to help him out. Using funds raised through the annual Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal, Green fed his family of four and purchased prescriptions and gas for his vehicle.
Deanna Esz, a case worker for Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes’ Emergency Assistance Program, met Green and his family last fall, shortly after they’d moved to the Canandaigua area from Seneca County. Green had lost his job and was battling lupus and applying for disability benefits. His wife worked full time, and the couple also was raising their two young boys, ages 3 and 6.
“When I first met them they were living in a motel. They did find an apartment, but it took every penny they had to get settled into it,” Esz said.
After paying for their apartment’s first and last month’s rent and security deposit, Green said his family was completely out of money.
“They didn’t have food at all. No food, and a family of four,” Esz added.
The situation looked grim until Green’s wife remembered hearing about an acquaintance who’d received emergency assistance from Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes.
“We asked Catholic Charities if they could help us out with gas and food vouchers, and they did. They gave us money for food and clothes and stuff like that,” Green said. “They’re just wonderful people. I can’t say enough about them.”
Soon after moving into the apartment Green came down with pneumonia. He was briefly hospitalized, and upon his release Esz and Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes came to his aid once more, Green said.
“They paid for one of my prescriptions because I had pneumonia and my lupus was acting up,” he said. “I was in rough shape. They helped me. They really came through for me when I was in need.”
All told, the Greens received about $100 worth of food, clothing, gas and medication through the Christmas Appeal, Esz said.
“They wanted to do more. I’m not greedy. I’m just thankful for a little bit, whatever God wants to give,” Green said.
This positive attitude is typical for Green, Esz said, and it’s an endearing quality that his entire family, right on down to the 3-year-old, seems to share.
“I’ve met the little boys, and they’re very positive and very polite,” she said. “(The family is) trying very hard to make it. They have a really great attitude. They just keep going and going. (Green) is just cheery and positive.”
Keeping a positive attitude, however, is not enough for Green, who recently began training to become a volunteer with the American Red Cross. He decided that even though his lupus prevents him from working every day, he wouldn’t let it prevent him from volunteering, Esz said.
Once he finishes his training Green will be certified to help people in Red Cross shelters should a disaster ever strike the local area. He’ll also be certified to travel to other disaster-stricken sites and assist people there, Green said, noting this kind of volunteer work is a logical fit for him.
“I love people. I just want to help people. I think there’s a lot of people out there that need help,” he said.
If agencies such as Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes and funds such as the Christmas Appeal had more money, they probably would be able to help more of these people in need, Green said. He’s calling on everyone to do their part to help out, whether through volunteering or donating to charitable organizations and funds.
“They need more people to step up to the plate,” he said.