Steven knew Tari was “the one” back in their Goffstown High School days.
“It was love at first sight,” recalls Steven, “and we’ve never left the area.”
Celebrating 44 years of marriage this year, they built careers – Steven a truck driver, and Tari a preschool director – owned a home, cars and “all the toys,” as he says.
Then the bottom fell out.
Steven suffered a back injury in a loading dock accident and Tari’s longtime battle with depression and PTSD reached severe levels. Unable to work and with limited insurance, they faced massive medical bills and could not keep their home, vehicles or other possessions.
“A lot of things had to go,” he remembers, “but if you look at material things versus life and your best friend, it didn’t matter to me. Now, we take care of each other.”
Adjusting to This New Life
Steven and Tari moved to an apartment in outer Manchester that they could afford with their disability payments, but keeping up with all of their bills and ongoing medical needs was a significant challenge.
“Tari and I both have to take medications,” says Steven, “and there have been times when we had to make a decision – do we cut back on the medication so we can get the groceries we need?”
Another problem they faced was the apartment’s location. Without a car, public transportation or any family nearby, access to vital services was nearly impossible, with a round-trip cab ride to the grocery store costing $50.
“We had to hunker down. You pay the rent and utilities and it doesn’t leave much left.”
“Kind and Giving People” at CareGivers Bridge the Gap
With the financial grip getting tighter, Steven, on a tip from friends at the St. Pius X Church food pantry in Manchester, reached out to CareGivers, the Catholic Charities NH program that provides homebound and disabled seniors with grocery deliveries (Caring Cupboard), transportation (Caring Rides) and emotional support so they can continue to live independently in their own homes.
This past year, CareGivers delivered more than 167,000 pounds of food and provided nearly 24,000 miles of volunteer rides for seniors, most of whom live on fixed incomes, including Steven and Tari. Signing up for both Caring Cupboard and Caring Rides made an immediate impact on Steven and Tari’s finances, as well as their health and well-being.
“We get fresh vegetables, milk, meat and other groceries on the first Thursday of every month,” says Steven, “and when (Caring Rides volunteer) Frank calls and says he’s here, he insists on bringing them right to the door. He’s doing this on his own time and doesn’t ask for anything – he’s just very kind.”
“Steven’s boisterous greeting and easy conversation just put me in a good mood,” says Caring Rides volunteer Frank Melvin. “To think that such a small gesture can bring some comfort to good folks like Steven and Tari truly makes it an uplifting and rewarding experience!”
Caring Rides volunteers also help Steven and Tari get to vital medical appointments, the pharmacy and the grocery store.
“Without the CareGivers rides and deliveries, we’d be lost,” says Steven. “They have opened up a whole world to us and helped us fill the holes in our expenses so we don’t have to sacrifice our medications. But they also get to know you – you feel comfortable talking with them, like they’re family. They make you feel good.”
Steven and Tari have been through a lot together in 44 years, but with CareGivers and those who support Catholic Charities NH, they know they’re not in this alone.
“As people who rely on CareGivers and Catholic Charities, I can only say thank you very much to the donors and volunteers for the help you give to us and many others in our area. Because of CareGivers, we can live independently and without them, we couldn’t.”