In El Paso County there are over 100,000 people, 1 in 7 who struggle with hunger. High Plains Helping Hands exists to provide emergency relief and long term help for our neighbors in need. A special thank you to those below who allow us to tell their story of how HPHH offers hope.
Kim has been coming to High Plains Helping Hands for the past two years. A mom to three sons, ages 17, 20 and 25, Kim has been struggling with the effects of Hepatitis C for many years. “I was in a car accident and had a transfusion when I was 21. I believe that’s when I got it,” she said. “People look at me and think I have this because I am a drug addict or I used to use drugs, and that’s just not true. I don’t want people thinking that about me.” Hepatitis C is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to diminished liver function or liver failure. Because of her treatments, she struggles with fatigue and depression and is currently on disability. Although the FDA recently approved a new medication that can cure people four times faster than typical treatments, Medicaid doesn’t cover the very expensive cost. Kim said she doesn’t know what she’d do without the help of High Plains Helping Hands. “I love this place, I love talking to people and getting prayer here. People treat me well and are nice,” she said, “and if it wasn’t for God, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be alive.”
When Megan was 10-years-old, her older sister gave birth to a premature baby, but she wasn’t ready to be a mom. “My parents worked, so I took care of the baby by myself. I’m just used to doing that,” she said. Megan still takes care of everybody, now married to her husband, Chris, mom to her own two daughters, ages 5 and 3, and adopted mom to her sister’s four kids, ages 14, 10, 9 and 8. With a full house, there is a lot of love but also a lot of expenses. “My husband is currently unemployed and looking for a job in computer maintenance,” Megan said. “I’m taking classes with an online school full time in creative writing. I complete my degree in December. I like to write post-apocalyptic video games, but I would also like to write a novel and screen play someday.” She is thankful for High Plains Helping Hands and encourages other in need to visit. “People are real nice and very understanding here.”
Long-time friends Heather and Deanna come to High Plains Helping Hands together; Deanna cannot drive, so Heather picks her up on her way. Heather’s husband works in construction but has been unemployed for 6 months. They have four kids, three who are grown and a 15-year-old daughter who still lives at home. “I like coming here because the way they treat you is a boost to your self-esteem,” she says. “They treat you well and the food helps beyond belief!”
Heather gets inspiration from her friend, Deanna, who lives with a constant, painful, debilitating migraine. “I’ve had all kinds of tests and been to neurologists, and they can’t pinpoint the cause. They think it’s hereditary,” Deanna explains. She has a 20-year old son who lives at home. He has a job, but “he’s not moving out because he won’t leave me like this. He helps me quite a bit.” Despite her constant pain, she still cooks, cleans and does laundry, “just very, very slowly. I go at my own pace,” she says. She is unable to drive because she occasionally blacks out, but she won’t let it get her down. “I just thank the Lord each day, thanking him for living, for waking up every day. There’s a reason for everything.”