Good Neighbor Fund
How many times have we opened the paper and read about a single parent who has to care for a terminally ill child or a cancer patient in need of a bone marrow treatment that’s not covered by insurance? We’ve seen the stories, and our conscience has called upon us to help, but we don’t always know what to do.
The Good Neighbor Fund was formed in 2009 to serve as the collective conscience of St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church, Greenlawn, NY. GNF provides assistance to those experiencing difficult times, both in our parish as well as in our greater community. We work with local agencies, community leaders and hospitals such as National Philoptochos, Family Service League, Visiting Nurse Service, North Shore and Stony Brook University Hospitals; often acting as a “bridge” toward financial or physical recovery, or as a catalyst that prompts other organizations and individuals to help. Largely through fundraisers like this, we’ve raised more than $150,000 and have helped individuals and families with an average financial contribution of about $1500. This may not seem like a significant amount, but the impact of these gifts on the lives of the recipients has been enormous. We’d like to share with you a sampling of the individual stories of those we have helped.
- A 62 -year old man with stage 4 bladder cancer was recently placed on COBRA. GNF was able to pay one month’s premium for COBRA to help bridge the gap until he was eligible for Medicare.
- A 38 -year old man remembered that GNF helped his wife in the past when she was seriously injured in a car accident. He was temporarily unable to work because of abdominal surgery and had fallen behind on his rent. His family of five was facing eviction. GNF paid his rent and he is forever grateful that his three small children were able to remain in their home. He has now returned to work.
- A Greek family struggling financially to pay for monthly flights to NYC for treatment of their toddler’s brain tumor. They were referred to the GNF by Ronald McDonald House’ Director of Social Work. GNF provided immediate assistance by covering their flights for one month.
- A 9/11 survivor who had been trampled on, fell down subway stairs and was in a coma for 2 months, subsequently developed thyroid cancer and suffered a heart attack. A systems engineer at Hewlett-Packard, she was laid off two weeks after signing her lease. She called social services, Catholic Charities and others and no one had any funds to help her quickly. The GNF was able to quickly respond to her request for assistance with one month’s rent while her Medicaid application was being processed.
- An unemployed man was recently diagnosed with Burkett’s lymphoma GNF paid his LIPA bill while he was waiting for Social Security Disability coverage.
- A person diagnosed with lung cancer is receiving chemotherapy and radiation. He collects $16/month in food stamps and asked for financial assistance for food. GNF gave him food cards for groceries for four months.
- A woman is the primary caregiver to her father who is 88 years old and suffers from lymphoma. She herself has had multiple occurrences of breast cancer and surgeries. They live on a fixed income of $900 from Social Security Disability and $16/month of food stamps. GNF paid her LIPA bill and gave her gift cards for groceries.
- Many of you know Andreas, the young man in church each week with his parents. Andreas suffered a serious accident more than 10 years ago. His parents lovingly care for him, but paying rent and covering expenses has been a hardship. For the first few years, a handful of parishioners had been contributing toward his expenses, and this was the inspiration for the Good Neighbor Fund. GNF now also pays for such services as speech and swallowing therapy in addition to half the family’s monthly rent. GNF has been able to maintain this level of financial commitment with help from individuals within our community and through outreach to other churches.
These are just a few of the stories. There are countless others like these that truly tug at our hearts and minds. The Good Neighbor Fund is committed to being there for them. And with your continued support, we will be. Thank you!