It’s been said time and time again, the goal of the Michael & Son Cares Program is not only to help families with essential home repairs they can’t afford, but to also inspire other businesses to do the same. To date, The Michael & Son Cares Program can proudly say our goals are being met. The type of support we receive from businesses in the community range from services that are beyond the scope of our expertise, products, and sometimes financial contributions.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Michael & Son Cares Program or the Helping Hands TV show that documents our work, here is a quick run down of how it works: Families who are in need of assistance with home repairs because of financial issues due to illness or disability send us an application detailing their situations. Every month we select a family and not only provide the services free of charge but also a special surprise for the family.
Because most of the families that we meet have children, their needs go beyond home repairs; after all, a new water heater or furnace is not exactly at the top of every kids wish list. With that in mind, we have always paid close attention to the interest and wants of the families children during the time we spend together. It’s because of the generosity of our supporters in the business community that we are able to bring a little happiness into the lives of children who face such difficult circumstances. Here are some examples of how they help us make a difference:
Charlie Crohare suffers from an extremely rare brain disorder similar to Miller Dieker syndrome. At 6 years old Charlie is a quadriplegic and has the brain development of a 2 year old. He suffers from daily seizures that can last up to 45 excruciating minutes and has been air lifted from his home, to the hospital dozens of times. Because of his condition, when he is not confined to his medical crib or wheelchair, Charlie can safely relax in bean bag chairs to play with his toys, games and watch movies. When we heard about Charlie’s love for bean bags, we reached out to local custom bean bag maker, Ahh! Bean Bags, who was more than happy to make Charlie an oversized, custom bean bag.
Monet and Greg Caldwell reached out to the Care’s Program when their home heating system broke down during one of the coldest winters on record. Their youngest of two children, Skyler, had just been born 10 weeks earlier with a thyroid cyst that required surgery. Because the cyst was located in her throat and any infection could cause a complete blockage of her tiny airway, the Caldwell’s could not risk bringing Skyler home to a cold home following the surgery. After resolving their heating issues, the Cares Program granted the Caldwell’s wish for a couples night out and a family day out. After sending Monet and Greg to a night out in Old Town, the Baltimore Aquarium invited the family for an all access afternoon, including a dolphin show, feeding demonstrations and a meet and greet with the turtles.
As a teenager, Brandon Donaghy was involved in a near fatal car accident that left him in a coma for nearly a month. The subsequent brain injuries that resulted from the coma left Brandon with memory and anxiety issues that made it impossible for him to hold a job. When Brandon woke up one cold morning to a broken heating system and no way to pay for a replacement, he began to panic. He sent his four children to stay with his grandmother while he searched for a solution. The Michael & Son Cares Program stepped in and along with restoring heat to the home, our friends at the Verizon Center gave the Donaghy family a night they will never forget. Along with a fully catered suite, the Donaghy’s sat court side during the Wizards warm up, met players and received bags of autographed merchandise.
One common theme throughout the stories above and many others is HVAC (heating and cooling) systems needing to be replaced. Most homeowners know that replacing them can cost thousands and repairs are usually band aids. Carrier is one of the worlds most well known and trusted names when it comes to HVAC, both residential and commercial. As top sponsor of the Michael & Son Cares Program, they are also one of the most generous. Today, over a dozen families have heat and A/C in their homes thanks to the community conscious people at Carrier.
You can see these stories and many more by visiting our website for a complete collection of past episodes of Helping Hands. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out about the upcoming season of Helping Hands, special events and much more!