senior citizen with a caneDuring the holiday season, we’re reminded of the many people in our communities whose needs aren’t being met. We donate clothing, canned goods, and non-perishable foods and give extra money to the many charities who ask for year-end donations.

This is a good thing. But we sometimes forget about those folks who are often invisible to us. I’m talking about the widow or widower who lives alone and who is somehow scraping by on a pension and social security — and that’s if they’re lucky. Often these are the people who cannot afford to maintain their homes and their heating systems. There just isn’t enough money.

I know this from first-hand experience. I had an uncle who was a WWII veteran of the Marine Corps 1st Division, “the bloody 1.” He saw far too much action in the Pacific theatre and returned to the United States with some rather serious mental problems. He worked sporadically as a painter of bridges and building exteriors — dangerous work done high off the ground. Mostly, he spent his life in between jobs and living with and taking care of his mother, herself a widow, who took him in when his marriage fell apart.

He continued to live in the house for years after his mother died. Over time he became more eccentric, and then neurotic. When I would try to see him, he wouldn’t show up at our meeting place. If I went to his house, he wouldn’t answer the door. When I was finally able to reach him, I found his furnace had been out for over a year. He was heating the downstairs of a three-story house in Lakewood with the electric stove. It was heart-breaking to think he’d been living this way.

My uncle died many years ago. His tormented mind and body gave way one night while he slept. But there are thousands just like him living in our midst. There’s probably one or two on your street, in your church, or among your relatives. They are living lives of quiet desperation. And, like my uncle, they can’t keep up with needed repairs.

If it’s in your heart, take it upon yourself to arrange for a home heating, cooling and plumbing inspection. The leaky faucet they ignore, or the faulty furnace can be costing them far more than the cost of repairs or even making them sick. Make sure they are safe in their homes — I know they will be forever grateful.

We can put the repairs and service charge on your credit card, and so can any reputable plumber or heating company. So whether you call The Plumbing Source or someone else, you’ll be doing these forgotten friends a great service. And in so doing, you’ll be living out the true meaning of this Christmas season.

Our number is 877-768-7239.