Tamyra New from “A RAY OF HOPE “
CLICK PIC FOR LAZER VIDEO BY SUSAN SALYER
MY DAY WITH…..”A RAY OF HOPE“
By Susan Salyer
ast week I got the invitation to join Suzie and Tamyra New for a ‘ride along’ for a few hours to help deliver hot meals to residents. Suzie New is the Program Director of the charity “A RAY OF HOPE” and these ladies help our community in many ways I found.
Many seniors and kids live with food insecurity, according to Suzie 1 in 5 people don’t know where their next meal is coming from “A RAY OF HOPE” addresses this need by distributing as many meals to individuals and families throughout Lawrence County as we can every week. Ms. New distributes food boxes to those in need and provides a hot meal 3 to 4 times a week. New provides blankets, shoes, socks and hygiene kits. (See Lazer video above)
Suzie and Tamyra share HOPE and LOVE by letting residents know someone cares for them and if we can help we will. New said.
“There is not a high number of homeless here in Louisa that we know of, we only have about 7 to 10 on any given day that we feed. New assists in helping them get into a shelter and help them get into low-income housing when possible. AROH provides information on mental health, substance abuse facilities and legal assistance and assists them in getting signed up with state aid and federal programs like food stamps, housing, SSI and SSD so they can become self-sufficient. “
“A RAY OF HOPE” is here to give a hand up not a handout, New said.
“Feed Seniors Now” – they are the new face of hunger.
“As you know the seniors are on a fixed income and the prices of groceries, electricity and gas continue to rise but the seniors are still receiving the same amount whether they are on Social Security or SSl. At the end of the month, a lot of seniors will go without food, Ms. New said. “It was brought to our attention last year that seniors had started going to the emergency room at the end of the month hoping to be admitted to the hospital. One lady we feed now said she would go without food for 2 or 3 days then she couldn’t take it anymore so she would go to the hospital hoping to get admitted so she could get a hot meal, the homeless have started doing the same thing.”
“That’s when we decided to start to “Feed the Seniors Now”. Studies have shown that over 5.5 million seniors don’t have consistent access to enough food for a healthy life and that number is growing every day. The Louisa Senior Citizen Center in Louisa is a wonderful place for the seniors to get a hot meal each day but isn’t opened on Saturday and Sunday, the one hot meal they get each day is not there again until Monday so some of them will go without a meal for two days.”
How does she pay for all her program does?
“I was asked the other day how can you afford to continue taking food out with the fuel and groceries prices being so high, I thought for a moment and said how can we afford not to feed them…because we know 100 percent if we don’t deliver dinners and food boxes a lot of kids and seniors will go to bed hungry and back in the hospital,” Suzie said.
Demand is increasing, supplies cost more.
“Due to Inflation and the demand increasing weekly it has been a big challenge and we have had to make some adjustments in the last couple of months as a lot of nonprofit organizations have had to, due to the increase in need has gone up and the donations have gone down, we are only delivering the hot meals weekly and food boxes are delivered out in the county at the end of the month due to gas being $4.00 a gallon.”
Not only are they being challenged by gas prices but the delivery vehicle for A RAY OF HOPE is no longer usable and they are having to drive New’s personal vehicle to make deliveries. There will be a fundraiser to help get a delivery vehicle for the ladies to drive daily.
“A RAY OF HOPE” teamed up with the K.S.P. about 4 years ago and have toy drives at Christmas. They have Easter basket giveaways in many locations, all over Lawrence County each year. Ms. New takes Santa, food, and toys to kids’ homes “because they don’t have gas or transportation to come to our Christmas giveaway. We also have a big Easter event at the Wilderness Park. Jason at Yatesville Lake May Friday 13th and an outdoor movie at L.C. Wilderness Park and haunted hayride starting the second weekend in Oct.”
“A RAY OF HOPE” is like a community organization, we all work together to make a difference in people’s lives and help those in need. We have some of the best volunteers in the world and we could not do what we do without them and our wonderful sponsors we assist them in signing up on SNAP and help the register to vote online. We helped buy school clothes and backpacks, also,” she said.