Programs and Comments

A Lift to the Laundromat

In the winter of 2005 we got a call from a woman asking for nothing more than “A lift to the Laundromat” down the street every week or two. It had just gotten difficult to make the trip on foot with her cart anymore. She fit all the criteria to receive our services, so we signed her up and started looking for people to help. The care recipient, Mary Beth Smith, was flexible on when she could go, and it was not a difficult detail so we never had any problem getting someone for her. So began a relationship that grew over several years, both in scope and frequency.

Mary Beth became a familiar voice on the other end of the phone. Her requests were generally uncomplicated and not hard to fill. Not only that, but she was to the point. You never had to play Joe Friday and tell her, “Just the facts, ma’am.” That’s exactly what you got. Over the years the requests were for more than just a trip to the Laundromat. There started to be a few physician appointments mixed in. Then some visits to the lab. Then more frequent and varied trips to see doctors.

As we got to hear from her more often we were given little snippets about her life, and started to piece them together to get some idea who Mary Beth Smith was. We learned that she moved back to the family house in Hornell following her retirement from nearly four decades of teaching in Olean. She would always be waiting on the porch or driveway for the volunteer. Mary Beth was an avid Yankees fan and never missed a game on TV. We also learned that the only living relatives she had were some cousins several states away.

It was January of 2012 that Mary Beth passed away. Reading through her obituary brought to light an illustrious teaching career and many other interests that we had no idea of. She graciously asked that Faith in Action be the recipient of memorial contributions. But this is not the end of the story…

About a month later we received a large envelope from a law firm containing a copy of Mary Beth’s Last Will and Testament. We were astonished to see that she had left everything to various charities, with Faith in Action to receive 10% of her estate. Things are still being settled and uncovered, so we don’t yet know what the final figure of her largesse will be. What a marvelous gift Mary Beth gave us. But not only that, what a wonderful legacy for her. She will be mentioned and remembered as Faith in Action continues serving people that just need “A lift to the Laundromat.”

If this strikes a chord with you, there are a number of ways you can ensure that your generosity and the Faith in Action caregiving program exceeds your years. Contact your financial planner, lawyer, or our office to find out just how. 

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