18 May

Gift Cards: “As I Lay Here Praying To God…”

by Jon Katz

I received $2,000 gift cards in the mail today, they are already on the way to Albany and Sue Silverstein who, I learned this afternoon, has been hiding her tears at the desperate pleas for help she is receiving. Mostly, these are people who never asked for help before.

She shared this message with me that she received at 4 a.m. yesterday (Sue is usually walking around distributing gift cards at that hour).

It was from the mother of one of Bishop Maginn’s refugee students:

Good morning, ms. Silverstein, as I lay here praying for god to make a way for me through this pandemic, I am struggling with food. I am waiting on my unemployment and my food stamps I feel like I’m taking advantage but please believe I’m so grateful for all the blessings from bishop maginn if any way possible would you be able to provide us with any food cards.”

The fear in this message came right through the text.

I realize how painful it must be for Sue to get these messages almost every day from people who have never asked for help in their lives.

I texted her a photo of the stack cards that came today. ”

That’s just awesome,” she wrote back.” I sent out some of the last cards to this poor woman. Every time I worry there is no way we can keep this up the Army Of good comes through once again.”

They are like that, these Army of Good people, I wrote back. They deliver, again and again, and again.

I am so fortunate to be able to help in this way and so lucky to have somehow drawn so many good people into my world and my life. I could never do this alone.

I will sleep so well knowing this mother will have the money she needs to feed her family. The fear and desperation in her message is wrenching.

I wish I could tell you that these cards are enough and we can stop, but the truth is these families – there are about 50 of them are without funds and are also sick or recovering – will need some help for a while. They are desperate to get back to work.

Like the messenger, I fear taking advantage of people, but I need to keep mentioning our gift card program, it is keeping people in the Bishop Maginn community and their children from going hungry.

I hope you know how much you mean to me and what these acts of kindness do for me, and hopefully, for you.

The gift card program is simple. You can see and buy the Price Chopper gift cards here in any amount. They need to be sent to me because Sue is overwhelmed and because gift cards can’t be sent to the school now or to post office boxes.

My address is Jon Katz, 2502 State Route 22, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

If you are uncomfortable buying them on the Price Chopper site, as some of you are, you can send a contribution to me: Jon Katz, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816 or 2502 State Route 22, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

You can view and purchase the cards here.

I’ll be happy to purchase them for you. I don’t really have the right words to thank you, embarrassing for a writer and a blogger. Thank you.

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