In fight against poverty, Time is Now passes a milestone | Columnists

Sal Dimiceli

Over 19 years ago I wrote the first The Time is Now to Help column. The plight of the poor has always deeply touched me for two reasons. I lived through hard times with my mother who I loved dearly. Watching my dear mother cry when we would get evicted or run out of food so we could pay the rent or have our electric utilities disconnected. I wondered as a small boy why no one helped my dear mother. I found out later in life she never told anyone due to her pride. She worked full time, but the money she earned was never enough for the staples in life, rent, utilities, food, car repairs, eyeglasses, etc.

The second reason I was touched by the plight of the poor is my dedication to walking the walk, living a life guided by our Lord God to love one another, be kind and generous. I wanted to help our fellow creations who needed the most help and remove their pains of poverty, especially for those who were the most vulnerable, the elderly, children, the handicapped, veterans, the working poor, those who are forgotten and neglected. I wanted to bring attention to the plight of the poverty stricken in our communities. Not only was it embraced by you, the readers, it also has made assistance to thousands of possible people over the years.

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After years of providing poverty relief in Chicago and other areas of Illinois, starting food pantries and diaper banks, providing food, household necessities, building low-income housing, providing wheelchairs to the poverty stricken handicapped, clothing and much more, I was ready to expand our poverty relief efforts into Southeastern Wisconsin. It was 2003 and as I drove through the communities surrounding Lake Geneva, I often found rundown homes with children, or the elderly, hungry and forgotten living in the dark. I cannot tell you how many people were surprised when I told them about the poverty I was seeing.

I helped these people for many years anonymously. Then Don Bearder, my neighbor and past owner of Lake Geneva Regional News, convinced me to write this column, The Time is Now to Help. Each week I would share one person or families struggle in poverty and how we helped them, while maintaining their anonymity. I was working to not only support my family, but also to support the charity. As I found more and more poverty amongst us, I needed help providing all this care for our fellow creations. I wanted to let people know how their donations were used 100% to provide poverty relief. I also wanted to provide people suffering in poverty with an opportunity to ask for help and receive it in a timely manner. I broke down in tears daily over seeing people suffer from hunger and become homeless while they waited on lists for help. The Time is Now to Help column was born.

Each year the column brought more and more people to our charity. Since founding The Time is now to Help in 1989 we have helped over 23,000 of our fellow creations with rent, shelter, food, toiletries, utilities, clothing, household necessities, transportation needs, handicapped necessities, and so much more. We have watched so many lives transformed by what all of us do together.

Our column has been recognized by many national news outlets and media including, newspapers, Fox News, CBS, CNN, WGN, People Magazine, Associated Press, Readers Digest and over 100 groups who support human interest. We have received national awards from the National Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award and as a top ten CNN Hero. I never wrote the column with the thought of awards or notoriety. I only wanted attention brought to the condition of extreme poverty in our great nation that often goes unnoticed. Thanks to these news media we have networked together to be a force for good.

As I write the 1,000th column, I think back to many of those people that have not only been touched by The Time is Now to Help, but who also have touched me with their bravery, strength, and endurance. So many lives have been changed and saved thanks to this column. Harry, whose heartbreaking struggle to survive as a quadriplegic caused by a drunk driver. Harry became a friend who shared his story with all of us. The severely handicapped children and adults that me so much about living with disabilities while also suffering due to poverty. The senior citizens who suffered in hunger while living without basic needs. The children who were trying to survive life threatening illnesses while their worried mothers wondered how they could afford gas for trips to the hospital and food for the table. When I think of all these people helped thanks to all of us, working together to alleviate the pains of poverty, it brings me to tears of gratitude. Many of these lives would not have been changed without this column and the goodness of the media to share our story. So many would not have known about the good works we do and will continue to do.

I thank the newspapers for allowing us to bring awareness to our charity work and for making our poverty relief possible. These 1,000 columns represent thousands of fellow creations brought out of poverty.

Thank “You” and God Bless all of “You” for making our good works possible.

Health & Happiness, Love & GOD Bless Everyone, Sal

Please Help: There are many coming to us in desperation. Our good fellow creations need our compassion. Together we make a big difference. Make checks payable to: The Time Is Now to Help, PO Box 1, Lake Geneva, WI 53147. The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501©3 charitable organization licensed in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax deductible, itemized thank you receipt showing how your donation provided assistance for the poverty stricken. Please visit our website for more information or to make a donation: A Very Special Thank You: Carolyn J. Gable Foundation, Jeff Martin, Lake Geneva Area Realty, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Schuberth, Kunes Country Auto Group, Martin Group, John Stensland and family, Hometown Auto Exchange, United Way of Walworth County, Kathleen and Brian Hurdis Charitable Fund, Leroy and Barbara Madsen, Peterson Drywall, Joan Baron, Michael and Kathe Beach, Daryl and Geri Braun, William and Beth Norton, Richard Green, William Davit, Jeff Zott, David Greenawalt, Sarah Wootton, Karen Rooney, Paula Harris, Paypal Giving Fund, Karin Collamore, Greg Johns, Gregory Swanson, all of our anonymous donors and ALL of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes. Anyone who would like a Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000. Memorials: Amato Family Foundation in loving memory of Paul Weinstock. Prayer Chain: The power of prayer and positive thoughts comes from the true healer, our Lord answering our prayers. Please pray for healing for the following people: Brian, Talyn, Mike, Sylvia, Richard, Jennifer, Jayden, Maria C., Alex, Lily, Kaitlyn, Sheila, Rhonda, Deda Lee, Betty, Marilyn, Helen, Dennis, Mary, Joseph, Jordan, Jean, Tom L., Dr. Peter, Alyce, Matthew, Pam E., Jenene B., John S., Patricia H., Darlene, Ron K., Marian K., Judy, Wendy, Eric, Anthony, Mary, Charlie, Tom P., Christina, Billy, Mike, Cheryl, and Ellie.

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