OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)

Have a question or want to show off your project? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View

As many of you know, I have been unemployed for quite a while. I have
been working various temp jobs to get by, have my house on the market
since I no longer get child support since DS graduated HS last week, and
now starting to begin a business selling Arbonne.  Well, at the end of
April I got a call from a woman I have known for over 30 years asking me
if I would take in an abused woman and her 2 kids. She made it sound
desperate and that they needed a place NOW.  The abused woman had been
the au pair for this lady's daughter in the early '90's, she never went
back to her own country and does not have a green card. Woman came over
to meet me and the let me know that she would move in after I got back
from daughter's graduation in Pittsburgh since she has a storage unit
and wants to get things moved while her husband is gone since she lost a
lot of papers when she went into a shelter last fall (she did go back
with the husband for about 2-3 months).

She finally called me on May 1 asking if she could PLEASE move in that
day--in about 2 hours. I was at work, but would be home in that time
frame. She came with the kids-- 2 & 3 and Her mother who was here from
the Czech Republic.  Mom had been here for 5 months, something with Mom
had set hubby off again and she had been moved out of the house to the
home of the woman who had hired the abuse woman in the first place. Mom
ended up staying at my house until she left to go home on the 28th of
May.  They helped to keep the house clean, would be gone for hours on
end when realtors came etc.  The oldest child is on the autistic
spectrum, the younger one may be too. She would go back to the school
district where she had been living to get the official paperwork
finished to get the kid into the special ed preschool. I did not know
until after Mom left, that she had enrolled the kid in the preschool in
that town and had not made any effort to have the kid put into our
school district.

A week few days after Mom left, she took the kids to drop the older on
off at pre-school. The kid got out at 11:30 am. They did not get back to
my house until after 9:30 pm.  I was concerned that the husband had
found her and the kids. Seems they met up with an old neighbor who has a
child the same age as the older kid and they were playing.  Why they
were gone so late is still beyond me. She also made the comment that her
husband has a new job... found out from one of his sisters, but she
insists that the sisters do not stay in touch with the husband as they
are disgusted with his behavior (then how did she know he has a new
job????). The next day she had car troubles so I gave her the name of my
mechanic. Mechanic came out, spent long time working on car, she paid
him with no problems yet she cried poverty so she cannot pay me any kind
of rent for staying at my house.  That weekend I had several showings. I
let her know so that she and the kids can leave. She dilly dallied
around so that she bearly left the house before the showings (she did
not know that I was next door when she was still around at the time of
the showing the second time). In the meantime, she had asked if she
could move stuff off the shelves in my guest room so that she could have
  some place to put her clothes. Sure, gave her boxes and asked to to
box my stuff up.  She throws my stuff into trash bags and dumps the bags
into the boxes.  I then find a bunch of my other stuff thrown around the
garage not in boxes or bags-- so much for showing respect for my property.

Almost 2 weeks ago, she tells me that she has to go to Nevada to renew
her drivers license since they do not require a social security number
in Nevada and since she does not have an actual NV address she is still
claiming residency so that she has her license. She is going to meet her
husband's sister's daughter (in other words, his niece) and the are
going to drive out together with the little boys. Shows she is not
hiding from anyone. I get a call from a PI looking for her. Scared the
ever living life out of me that someone knows where to track her. I call
her and let her know that a PI tracked her down. She can't understand
how they found my number, "I never did anything to compromise you or
your son." "The family knows nothing about this." "He has a job in L.A.,
wants me back, is working to pay off all the debts so I will let us be a
family again." I let her know that she is unable to return here, as my
safety has now been compromised. I told her to make arrangements with a
friend to meet me somewhere so that I can get her stuff back to her.

Today she called and wanted to pick up her stuff. The woman she worked
for (daughter of my friend) also called, said that she is in Vegas, but
is it OK for abused woman to come by the house to get her stuff, she
will dump everything into trash bags.  I mentioned that I had most stuff
packed so that when I got the call where to meet someone I would be
ready. Woman sounds peeved because "abused woman is very territorial
about her stuff."  "Don't know what is going on, you and your son were
never in any danger, her husband may be wacko, but his is not dangerous.
If he was going to hurt anyone, he would have come to my house since he
knows me, and he has never bothered me or my family."

My next door neighbors came over while abused woman was here getting her
stuff, "it's not that I don't trust you, but is it OK if I check the
room to make sure I have all of my stuff?" She went to give my my house
key back, "I think this is your key, why don't you try it." Told her,
not necessary as I checked all the locks. She was really shocked. She
gets her stuff and manages to get it all into her little car somehow.
She makes it very clear that she is very put out that I moved her
"Important papers" out of the drawer and packed them. She was surprised
I could point exactly which box held her important papers.

She then played her crying guilt game, "I don't know what I did, I was
so careful to follow all the rules that we set." "I know for a fact that
no one in the family or my husband have been in touch with any PI."

She finally leaves. The woman she worked for then calls me "Debbi?"
"Yes", "What the f^&( are you thinking, she never did anything to upset
you...." I hung up the phone....

Debbi in SO CA

Re: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Good riddance of the "abused" woman and your "friend".  Prayers that you can
get your life back on track and headed in the right direction.

We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Oh WOW----Please don't ever take anyone you don't know into your home again.
If she doesn't have a green card, it sounds to me as if she's trying to
avoid being deported.  I hope you meant you changed all the locks, not just
checked them.  She could easily have had a key made.  What a stressful
situation.  I'm sorry for you.  Hugs.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)

You are right, I did not proof read what I wrote. Yes, I changed EVERY
lock to the house, including locks in which she had no key.  Made sure
my Realtor came over and changed the key in the lock box.  There is no
way on this earth she can get back into this house without breaking in!

Debbi in So CA

Gen wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Oh, Debbi. I don't know you, but girl, I've been there and it also
ended horribly.

I learned 2 things.: There is no house in the world built big enough
for two
families. And next time I have the desire to help the homeless, I will
$$$$ to the professionals. I don't have the resources, the training,
or anything
else to help someone like that. I don't know WHAT I was thinking.

But bless you for trying. I think you did the right thing, in the end.


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Thank you for sharing your experiences!  All in all, I think you were
very lucky --- you could have been robbed, abused, battered, etc.,
plus accused of assisting someone violating some very serious federal
laws concerning immigration fraud!  You were trying to do an honorable
thing, of course, but I always suggest that people assist the homeless
and abused by assisting the homeless shelters and shelters for abused
people, who have the expertise to help.

Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Goodness, Debbi, no one needs that kind of stress.  You did the right
thing.  Sometimes our best intentions backfire like crazy...but you
did try.


On Sun, 22 Jun 2008 18:00:07 -0700, Debbi in SO CA

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Debbi, I'm glad you got out of the situation
as quickly as you did.  

I've been the director of a food pantry for 18 years and have had dozens
of clients in similar situations. The woman who was in charge before me
used to hand out cash (her own) to anyone who asked, eventually having
people go to her house for more hand outs. I threatened to quit if she
did this as it put all of us in jeopardy because, first thing you know,
one person tells another, then another, then you have half the junkies,
felons, etc. in town wanting you to take them in.  They have all been
investigated by the social system and rejected for one reason or

I'll never forget the time, the previous director ran all over town
looking for a bed for a new client, who had told her he was newly
married and had no furniture, nor a bed.  She found him a queen-sized
bed at the Goodwill Store, purchased all new bedding, pillows,
comforter, etc.  We (she and I) borrowed a pick-up truck, carried the
bed upstairs to his second floor apartment, made up the bed, all while
he stood by and watched, (he had a "bad" back).  He thanked us profusely
proclaiming his unending gratitude, and we never saw him again.  A few
weeks later we heard that he no longer needed help with food, as his new
bed was making him a lot of money.  HE WAS A PIMP!        

There is a segment of our population who won't help themselves, all they
do is intimidate and take advantage.  It's sometimes hard to know whom
we can trust.  

I used to have a client who was mentally challenged who met people at
her group meetings who were very unbalanced.  She felt sorry for them
and many times would open her home to them and their     families.  She
always got screwed, lost furniture and precious belongings, infuriated
landlords, lost most of her savings, etc.

I have a list of social services in my state and when someone needs
help, other than food, I refer them to the appropriate people.  If they
legitimately need help they are grateful, if not, they will continue to
badger me for money, we don't give out money, just food and bathroom

I've had to physically push a drug addict out of the building, He was
high and a threat to everyone in the building, including a pre-school.
My assistant was calling the police at the same time.  I've had clients
who would not take any food items that were not National Brand Names,
this is because "store" brands do not fetch as much money for drugs.
I've had clients try to sell me "at a discount" food that I know they
received at the other food pantries.  

On the other hand, I've met some of the most incredible, kind, loving
families in the world, who will just never be able to make ends meet.
One such family has 4 illiterate adults raising a young child.  They
survive on food pantries, recycling cans, and a social security check.
I don't think they've ever done a dishonest thing in their lives.  I
have a morbidly obese client raising 2 teenaged relatives on $6000 a
year, who would give me the shirt off her back if I asked for it.  On
the other hand, I once had to turn down a single woman, driving a
Lincoln Towncar, who had an income of $80,000, because she obviously
didn't qualify. She said no one could possibly make ends meet on her
income, after all, she had to pay taxes!  I don't make the government
income. guidelines, just follow them.  She was more than $60,000 over
the limit.  She slammed the doors and screamed all the way to her car.  

Please be very careful how you offer your help to strangers.  Always try
to help, if you can, but do it through proper channels.  If in doubt,
call your local churches, the pastors will usually know who can best
provide the needed advice.  Nine years ago when we got our new minister,
she came to me quietly to tell me that she was part of an underground
emergency shelter chain that helped abused women, and if, in the course
of my ministry, I ran across a woman in need of her services, to let her

Bottom line is, there are legitimate resources out there for families in
need. Some families just always seem to live on the edge of society,
taking whatever they can get their hands on, always expecting someone
else to take care of them, and who try to make you feel guilty if you
are insecure about doing it.  

I think every town has a welfare office with folks who have been trained
to separate the really needy from the frauds.

ON TOPIC: I'm currently giving quilting lessons to 2 of my clients in my
home, we're making baby quilts for some other clients.  It's been lots
of fun and a great way to use up stash.

I got 67 yards of beautiful tone on tones at a yard sale 2 weeks ago for
$50.  Yippee!


Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Bless you, Denise.  The world could use a lot more people just like you.
Thank you for all you do.


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Thank you so much Denise.  It sure opened up my eyes. To know that my
friend's daughter was so upset since she only got the woman's side of
the story was crazy.  I never did nor will I probably ever tell her the
stories-- she was quick to write off whatever I did say as my being over
reactive, so I will let her handle it from here. Good Riddence!  When I
see my friend in August, I should have calmed down enough to tell her
what was going on, but then again, who knows what I will say at that
time, if anything.

Thanks again, Denise

Debbi in SO CA

Denise in NH wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Well, you tried to help someone and your heart was in the right place, so
don't beat yourself up. Just learn from the experience, and from the wise
advice often posted right here in RCTQ. I learn something every time I read.
Sometimes it is about quilting, sometimes about life.

Now you just need to concentrate on selling the house. That will help you
put this episode in the background and move on. Your library might have good
books to help you. One that I know is called Dress Your House for Success.
It is about staging and showing the home to best advantage. Good luck.

On topic: a pretty quilt on the bed will make a nice impression! :)

We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)

Every bed has a quilt, and I even have a finished one on the sewing
table making it look like I am working on that one!

Debbi in SO CA

Pat in Virginia wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Debbi, I learned my lesson years and years ago. I was 23 and green and
had a heart bigger than my brain. I was a reporter for a little paper
and it was Christmas and we were writing stories about down on their
luck families for the Christmas Basket program.

I met the young man and woman at a local social service agency. They
had a 9-month old baby, just gorgeous with big blue eyes and this
shock of blond hair that stood straight up on his little head. That
baby was the cutest thing on earth. Well, they gave a hard luck story.
On their way to jobs in California and the car broke down.... you
know. We found them a place to live (not great, but we didn't have
much to work with) and a job for the man and baby things and clothes
and I bought diapers and toys out of my own pretty thin pocket. Got
them food vouchers and everything.

I got a call two weeks later. The neighbors had called police about
the baby s creaming for hours  and nobody stopping it. They found that
little baby tied by one leg to the kitchen table in that horrible
trailer, crawling on the floor with roaches. There was two weeks of
trash and dirty diapers -- they hadn't even carried the garbage out
for two weeks. Cigarette wrappers and empty beer bottles showed what
they spent the vouchers on. They were gone. Took everything of value
-- including taking the locks out of the doors. (  !!! ) I guess you
can sell locks?

Anyway, after that I've only volunteered with nice, quiet programs
that have vetted the recipients. I've done hundreds, maybe thousands
of hours of volunteer work, but I've not become personally involved
again. That was hard. Hurt like crazy to be taken advantage of when I
believed them. Whatever.

Good luck to you in shaking that woman and her abusive husband. I hope
you don't hear from either of them again. If you do, call the police
immediately. They know.

Take care,

Re: OT: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
In Toronto, one of the companies that sells beds has a program to give used
beds to people on welfare, disability or the working poor.  They take the
used mattresses and box springs from clients who buy a new bed, take them to
a warehouse, where they are cleaned and disinfected.  Any really poor
mattresses are discarded.  We took my son's ex-roommates to pick up a set -
they were able to choose from dozens of mattresses in the size they wanted.
The only difficulty is transportation, but we provided that for them.

We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)

Quoted text here. Click to load it

snipped for brevity

Man Debbi, what a story!  Like the old saying, "No good deed goes
unpunished!"  Sounds like there was more going on behind the scenes than you
were privy to.

I know you're feeling aggravated and unappreciated--anyone would under those
circumstances--and while I'm not suggesting you ever make the same choice
again, you can still feel good about the fact that you tried to help this
woman, tried to do the right thing.
Michelle in NV

Re: I Think I will Refuse to Volunteer ever again (LONG STORY)
Sounds to me like you got railroaded into helping this "poor" woman.
Well, you are smarter for it, and good riddence to her. i hope you can
sell your house quickly, and move far far away from there!!!!
Geez, i wont even let my sisters move in with me!!! you are one in a
amy in CNY

Site Timeline