Community rallies for Jim Smith after new management at Greener Village cuts off his pay
Someone shoots up a mosque. The public turns out to show solidarity with the victimized Muslims.
Someone defaces the rainbow symbol on a crosswalk. The local community turns out to show support for the LGBTQ community.
Someone steals a purse from an elderly woman, depriving her of her rent and grocery money. Friends and strangers chip in to replace what she lost.
We have all seen these kinds of scenarios play out. It reminds us there are despicable people out there, but it is so reassuring to see that there are a whole lot more good ones, and in the end it is their actions that carry the day.
The most recent example of this revolves around Jim Smith. Jim is a gentle man, small in stature but with a big heart. He’s well known to anyone familiar with the Fredericton food bank and later Greener Village, as he has spent the last 24 years working for both. His service has always far exceeded the hours for which he received his modest pay.
Last month, Jim suffered a stroke. He remains in hospital where his rehabilitation continues, and while you can imagine the stress this event has caused him, it was multiplied by the decision of the new management of Greener Village to cut off his pay, forcing him to rely on medical Employment Insurance. This means an income reduction of about half. It’s not enough for him and his wife, who has her own medical challenges, to cover their rent and other essentials. In short, this put them in financial dire straits. You can read more about Jim’s situation here.
But while he was thrown this curve by the same church-controlled board of Greener Village that so unfairly fired the facility’s General Manager last month, it is so reassuring and heartwarming to see that the larger Fredericton community (and beyond) has come to Jim’s aid.
Former United Way Executive Director and Greener Village volunteer Brian Duplessis started a GoFundMe campaign for Jim, to help see him and his wife Jeanne through until she is eiligible for Old Age Security in November. The target Brian and his committee set was $5000 over the next few weeks. This campaign was launched on Friday. The target was hit within 24 hours. While this response is absolutely wonderful, that $5000 was a modest target based on just seeing them through. The decision to keep it going a bit longer is to give them a bit more, enough that it isn’t just enough to get by, but also enough to afford them some well deserved comfort. As of this morning, just before I posted this blog, the fund was sitting at over $7500.
Thanks to all who helped make this happen.
Thanks as well to all who liked and shared my previous blog on the unfairness of this same management over its firing of Elizabeth Crawford Thurber, the long time Food Bank and Greener Village Executive Director.
Make no mistake. This is entirely on Fredericton’s 7th Day Adventist Church, which systematically removed all community members from the Greener Village Board, assuming full control of it. Like you, I don’t know what their motivation was, or is, in the terrible way they have trated both Elizabeth and Jim. But I like to think that in due course, we will find out.
But meantime, I prefer to focus on the positive, and this latest example of a community coming together to right a wrong done to someone who deserved better.
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