Emmanuel N. is a team leader at Planned Companies in New Jersey and a recent FirstService Relief Fund grant recipient. He has agreed to share his story with us to help raise awareness of the FirstService Relief Fund so those in need will apply for grants and those who wish to donate will consider doing so.
Emmanuel emigrated to the United States from the Republic of Ghana, West Africa in 2008. As is tradition in Ghana, with the passing of his father, Emmanuel assumed role as head of his family’s household. With that comes the responsibility of funding a celebration of life ceremony on the one-year anniversary of his father’s death. Respecting cultural traditions is important to Emmanuel and his family; however he found himself facing a personal financial hardship.
The ceremony – which brings together family, community members and town elders — honors his father and marks the end of the mourning period for his widow. The event includes music, dancing and the unveiling of his father’s inscribed tomb.
Coordinating the ceremony was a challenge for Emmanuel, not only because of the logistics involved with planning an event in a country 5,000 miles away, but also because of the costs associated with it. Unexpected funeral-related expenses can stretch working families’ budgets creating a personal financial hardship for many people.
Fortunately for Emmanuel, the FirstService Relief Fund is available to assist our people in times of personal financial hardship. Because his situation was considered a “Qualified Event” under the guidelines of the Fund, he was awarded a grant.
Emmanuel is grateful for the support he received from the FirstService Relief Fund. “Losing my father was a big blow for me and my family. It’s easy to let a hardship get you down, but I want people to know that there is help available, and even when things seem very bad, they will get better,” he said.
Emmanuel said everyone he spoke with at Employee Assistance Foundation (the Fund’s administrator) throughout the process of getting approved for the grant was extremely helpful and kind. When asked if he had a message for his FirstService colleagues who donated to the Fund, he had this to say, “God bless them for donating. Now it is my turn to contribute to the Fund so I can help others who face their own financial hardships.”
We encourage everyone to donate what they can and to remember that every dollar donated makes a difference and no amount is too small. For many people, establishing recurring donations in small amounts, either through payroll deductions or debit or credit cards, can be easier to incorporate into their budgets than a one-time lump sum donation. Even just one dollar per pay period can have a huge impact when you consider the number of people – 33,000 and growing — in our organization.
If you are facing a personal financial hardship, please visit www.firstservicerelief.com and learn more about the FirstService Relief Fund.