In 2010, Paula’s health was declining rapidly. She needed help but didn’t know where to go. The Cedarburg resident felt hopeless. She has diabetes, fibromyalgia and a pain disorder that left her unable to work, drive or accomplish daily tasks.
“At that point I was really sick and I had a lot of doctor’s appointments every month,” said Paula. “I was so depressed, I thought, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do this.’”
Paula has a supportive family that lives in the area, but her frequent visits to the doctor were more than her sister or brother, who both worked full-time, could manage. Her mother, who was in her 80s, couldn’t provide the level of help Paula needed either. She finally called Goodwill, which referred her to Interfaith Caregivers of Ozaukee County. When she heard that volunteers were matched with clients one-on-one, she knew it was for her. And the rest, they say, is history.
“Interfaith saved my life,” she says sincerely.
As a disabled adult living alone in an area with few transportation options, Paula was a perfect fit for Interfaith’s mission: “Enabling seniors and adults with disabilities to remain independent in their homes.” Having someone take her to appointments and shopping has helped her stay in her own home where she is most comfortable.
Interfaith’s free services also fit Paula’s tight budget. “I don’t have a spare dime,” she offers. Paula has received many rides over the four-plus years she has been a client, saving her hundreds of dollars over the cost of a taxi. More than the rides though, she has also found hope and friendship with Interfaith.
When it comes to Interfaith volunteers, Paula finds all of them charming and caring. She admits that she has favorites – among them is Ellie. “With Ellie I always laugh,” Paula says. “We giggle. We even do outings when I feel good. I’ll say, ‘You want to go to Hobby Lobby and the Dollar Store?’”
A special relationship has emerged between the two women. Every time Paula sees Ellie, she said, she lights up. In fact, Paula’s whole family is grateful for Ellie, Interfaith and for the support she has received. Thanks to funders like United Way of Northern Ozaukee, Interfaith is able to offer their services at no charge to the client. United Way of Northern Ozaukee and Interfaith have been working together since 1994.