Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kindness of strangers

A Charlotte couple, who read the Jan. 31 story of a woman trying to save her home, sent $400 to help her. They sent the money to the Observer, for delivery to Jenna MacFarlane, a woman they don't know.

"We aren’t looking for any special recognition or even a thank you response," said the couple, who wishes to be anonymous. "We are only interested in trying to help another person who is in a difficult situation."

MacFarlane, a graphic designer, put 40 percent down when she bought a 1930s house near uptown in 2004. Her income dwindled with the economy, and she's been trying for months to get a loan modification to reduce her payments.

"That is so kind," she said today, upon learning of the gift. "Wow."

Her benefactors stand out among the many critical remarks, railing about the poor decisions and questionable judgment of families profiled by The Observer who are struggling amid a deep downturn to pay their mortgages and other bills.

The couple, who says they have made other direct payments to help people, are disenchanted with formal channels and "feel helpless in trying to have a true impact on change." But, "we can help to change or offset some less fortunate individual's hardship through charitable acts."

They are grateful for what they have, and giving makes them feel good.

MacFarlane can relate. In better times, she too gave, including establishing a scholarship that helps women complete their education at a northern California university.

"I’ve always been the one to help other people," she says. "I’ve known firsthand how good it feels."

She never thought she'd be the one struggling, to have to reshape her image of herself as the one who needs help.

"It’s a new way of thinking about your life," says MacFarlane, who is determined to rebuild her income and save her home. "Many people practice self denial, especially when they have been proud of themselves for supporting themselves all their lives. We’re all pretty close to the edge at this point."

Another Save Your Home reader echoed a similar thought.

"The real point of this is: walk a mile in someone's shoes before you become so arrogant about their life's problems," said alittlemoretolerant.

Readers, what upsets you about the nation's $75 billion foreclosure-prevention effort?


Dena Sigman said...

Thank you to everyone who is saying now walk in my shoes!! It is so hard to read negative comments from people who are clueless about what has happened in my life. I am not an irresponsible person who deliberately went out and ran up debts I could not pay. Before all this started, I was the person who was easily affording my lifestyle as well as lending a helping hand. I'm very glad that those of you who are so critical are easily managing your finances, holding on to your jobs and your lifestyles. I think that is wonderful. But please, before you point your finger, sit down and talk with me. You might be surprised at what you learn. And beware-I thought I was recession proof. I thought there was no way I could ever lose my job. I was introduced to reality in August 2009. I have barely managed to hang on to my home. My credit is completely shot and will never recover because I focused on makiing the mortgage payments. I am 48 years old and starting over. Yes, it can happen to you. Please don't judge me until you have the facts.

Algernon said...

Amazing what $400.00 can do these days. Good for those folks, and for MacFaralane.

Every time you hear a bell ring, it means that some angel just got his wings...


As for obamas mortgage thingy, that was a year ago wasn't?


It was forgotten along with jobs and the economy until people piped up they weren't happy, and started voting some Republicans in.

Without a vibrant economy these folks in Washington will have no income themselves in the form of income taxes and other taxes, maybe we should just do what they are doing and spend/borrow our way out of this recession.

Sonya said...

Good luck Dena!

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you. Now if only someone would offer my husband a computer/systems tech job that pays a decent salary, that would make our year! He got laid off when his company declared bankruptcy. He worked there 12 years and didn't get a cent of severance, he even lost his vacation pay. He got nothing for investing all that time and effort into the company because the owner didn't know what he was doing.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck Dena. It really can happen to anyone.

Anonymous said...

No one should be paying more than 1/3 of their monthly salary for a mortgage, and even that is too high.

Mortgage payments are going to have to come WAY DOWN before there can be any recovery.