Appeal enables them to purchase medicine
ROCHESTER — Due to their respective disabilities, Dorothy and Alfred Barnes have seen their combined income decline over the past several years from a high of $70,000 to their current income of $12,000.
They’ve gone from able-bodied workers who owned their own home to people with disabilities who live in a rented residence, Dorothy noted.
Dorothy, formerly employed as an interior decorator, has been gradually losing her eyesight for the past decade.
“It’s like looking through a T-shirt,” she said of her eyesight, which is hampered by a number of ailments, including nerve problems and macular degeneration. Meanwhile, Alfred suffers from diabetes and a shoulder disability, and stopped working in 2000 after 22 years as an employee of a government agency.
“We’re both on medications,” Dorothy said, adding that the couple lives on her Social Security disability payments. Her husband is awaiting approval for similar payments. She noted that they sometimes have to choose between paying for their medications and paying their rent or other bills.
In September of this year, they were having difficulty paying for their prescriptions as well as their rent, but had learned that Catholic Family Center might be able to help them. The Catholic Charities agency was able to provide the couple with $327 to help with the rent and $50 to help with prescription medications, according to Bobbi McGarrity, senior case manager for CFC’s Community Resource Services. The funds were provided through the Christmas Appeal, a cooperative effort of the Catholic Courier and diocesan Catholic Charities.
This is the 35th year of the Christmas Appeal, which provides grants to help families and individuals facing various financial challenges, from an inability to purchase medicines to a need to buy food and diapers. More than 750 individuals donated a total of $49,120 to the 2003 appeal, according to Donna Stubbings, appeal coordinator and circulation manager for the Courier. The goal of the 2004 appeal is $54,000.
Proceeds from the appeal will go toward the emergency funds of the various offices of Catholic Charities throughout the 12-county diocese, as well Kinship Family and Youth Services, Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation and various Rochester parishes and community ministries. Recipients of appeal funds are often people who are ineligible for other forms of assistance.
Prior appeal donors were slated to receive appeal mailings Thanksgiving week, Stubbings said, and throughout December, the Courier’s monthly and weekly issues will contain feature stories about individuals and families who’ve been helped through the Christmas Appeal. These stories will be accompanied by a coupon encouraging readers to contribute to the appeal.
The Barneses noted that they appreciated the assistance they received through the generosity of Courier readers.
“There are many people in the same financial predicament, if not worse,” Dorothy said.
She added that she and her husband will continue to help each other overcome their disabilities.
“I do the lifting, and I use his eyes,” she said with a smile.
She added that she has no plans to wallow in self-pity about her diminishing eyesight.
“You sit and cry about it, or you keep going,” she said. “I’m the type of person that keeps going.”
Send your donations (payable to “Christmas Appeal) to Christmas Appeal, c/o Catholic Courier, PO Box 24379, Rochester, NY 14624-0379.