As Cathy Summers, a retired grandmother, walked barefoot across the second yard she had mowed that day, Beth Walker Bell turned and said, “This is what I want Community Angels to be about.”
In addition to driving her daughter, Casey Paulin, to multiple doctor appointments for breast cancer treatment, Summers is cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, caring for her two young grandchildren and mowing her daughter’s yard after mowing her own.
Unfortunately, Summers is not the first person Bell has seen with tired eyes.
After a few experiences last year, all with families battling serious illness, Bell quickly realized a recurring theme. Caregivers are exhausted. Those with illness feel guilty about it. And the entire family is in need of at least an occasional pair of caring, extra hands.
“Maybe the dad always did the yard work in the family but the dad had a heart attack,” Bell said. “Or a single mother with cancer needs help with babysitting or haircut money for her kids. But her family doesn’t live in the area.”
With so many of these scenarios on her heart, Bell launched this non-profit program last June, with assistance from the Johnson County Community Foundation.
She hopes the community will reach out with either a few dollars or with volunteer efforts such as building wheelchair ramps or doing some grocery shopping, housecleaning or lawn care.
Other more creative gifts are highly appreciated, too.
Last year, for example, someone donated tickets for an Indians game. Bell gave the tickets to a young family “that had been cooped up for a long time” because of the mother’s illness.
On April 20, Bell is hosting the Black & White Ball to help raise funds. Proceeds will help the Community Angel fund take at least some of the burden off families, such as paying a lawn mowing business to mow one or both yards for people like Summers, whose hands are already full.
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