This morning I met with a man I'd met at a nearby Christian church. In an earlier e-mail message to me, he had expressed an interest in my well-being. That was greatly appreciated, since I'd been going through some very difficult circumstances, as a result of a prolonged period of unemployment.
Later today, I sent him a followup e-mail in order to summarize and clarify some of the things I'd told him with regard to issues and needs which I was facing. I'd been meaning to post a blog article listing those items anyway, so that I could send links to the article when endeavoring to communicate with others who might conceivably help me to address those needs. Therefore, it was a simple matter of copying the relevant passages of text from that e-mail reply into this blog post, and then modifying the text slightly in order to eliminate the parts which specifically pertained to the original recipient of the letter.
Here's the modified excerpt from that letter:
In terms of my immediate future, I need an infusion of sufficient money to prevent my eviction from Lawson House YMCA. (Currently, I owe more than $1,100.) It doesn't have to be in the form of a gift. I'm more than willing to do whatever work I can do in order to earn the money. I have abundant abilities and talents with which I could do so.
While it would be great to be able to earn the money by doing work which I particularly enjoy (such as creating one or more pen & ink portraits for a client who was capable of recognizing the quality of my artistry), I am not too proud to do more mundane physical labor. Part of the reason I was able to survive during the past year without being evicted was that a couple of good Christian friends offered me the opportunity to earn some money by helping me to paint rooms in their homes. I don't claim to be a professional house painter, but I can say that I made a strong effort to work hard and to do a quality job.
If worse comes to worst and I am evicted, I need assurance that I will have someplace to move other than a homeless shelter. Even sleeping on the couch or a pallet on the floor in someone's living room would be preferable to that! But I also suspect that there are Christians in the Chicago area who have spare bedrooms which aren't being used. Some of those Christians may even attend your church.
If I am evicted, I will very likely need to put my things into storage on a temporary basis. If that becomes a necessity, I may need help moving my things to the storage facility, since I have no car or van or truck of my own. (Of course, I'd do a substantial amount of the physical work involved in the move.)
Regarding storage, there may also be an issue with my ability to rent such a facility. Not in terms of the finances. I get a monthly check for $281, and that's more than enough to enable me to pay the monthly storage fees (even though it isn't enough to enable me to fully pay my rent at the Lawson House YMCA). But I lost a storage facility last year (and all of the things within it) because I was unable to pay that storage fee at the time (since the $281 was being applied to rent at Lawson House). I'm not sure, but it's possible that credit problems (related to the loss of the previous storage facility, and to my eviction from Lawson House) might make it hard or impossible for me to get another storage facility in the future on my own. If that's the case, I may need a co-signer in order to rent another facility.
Losing possessions for which one has paid a lot of money can be heartbreaking, especially if one has never really had the chance to make the most of those possessions the way one had planned to do. (For example, when the storage company sold off the items I'd been storing there last year, I lost a perfectly good Nikon film scanner for which I'd paid almost $2,000! The worst part was that I'd never had the opportunity to use the scanner, so it felt like bad stewardship to me for me to have to part with it.)
Nevertheless, that isn't the main issue. If it was merely a matter of wanting to hold onto items which could easily be replaced, that would be one thing. But losing irreplaceable items which represent a substantial amount of work and creativity on my part would be far worse.
I speak from hard experience. During the early 90's, I lost the typewritten lyric sheets for roughly 80 Christian songs I'd written, during the process of being shuttled from one place to the next as a result of the traumatic financial difficulties I was experiencing. I still remember the lyrics to a tiny number of those songs, but most of them were lost forever to me. I don't want that kind of thing to ever happen to me again.
Even if I were to get a temporary gift or payment for a side job so that I could avoid eviction in the immediate future, it would not address the issue in the long term. The problem is likely to continue to come up again and again until I can once more get a steady income. I won't claim that my effort to get a job has been perfect, but I can sincerely say that I've been making a strong effort to find a job, and I will continue to do so until I achieve success, no matter how incredibly discouraging the process may be. Any help which anyone might offer in terms of finding work will be greatly appreciated.
Even if you aren't personally in a position to address all of the above needs, I suspect that you know others (whether or not you're aware of it) who would be in such a position.
That also pertains to assistance which folks might wish to offer in terms of helping me to begin to make some money with my artistic creations and skills. That's why I'd like to develop fund raising programs, in cooperation with local churches and/or nonprofit organizations, which would be mutually beneficial for all concerned. Using Photoshop and other applicable software programs, I would design a variety of products (books, posters, greeting cards, etc.) which would be sold online, in a manner which would generate income both for myself and for the sponsoring organization or ministry. I've given a great deal of thought to how this might be accomplished, and I've already done the research in order to locate companies which would not only produce the products and process the orders online, but which would also fulfill the orders by shipping them directly to customers. In short, the amount of time and money which sponsoring organizations would need to invest would be minimal in comparison with the potential benefits of such projects.
If you're reading this and you want to get involved in practical ways which will enable me to get back on my feet again, please feel free to contact me as soon as possible.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
Mark W. Pettigrew
30 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60654 (Note the new zip code, effective as of 7/1/2008. Prior to that date, the zip code was 60610.)
Voice Mailbox: 773-509-8126
NOTE: Current phone problems make this the least desirable way for people to contact me. Hopefully, those issues will be resolved soon, once I get back on track financially. More on that in future blog posts.