As readers of this blog probably remember, we had a short but effective fund-raiser for former TSR staffer Karen Boomgarden about six weeks ago. Karen and family were going to have their house foreclosed on them due to long term unemployment. They had a chance to qualify for unemployment foreberance but had to be current on their house payments to due so. (See these posts for more information: Help a Former TSR Editor Keep Her House!, Update: Help a Former TSR Editor Keep Her House!, Progress Report: Microlite74, RetroRoleplaying Forum, Real Life. etc.). For those who are not familiar with her work at TSR, she was a editor with editor credit on a large number of TSR products and was the designer for a few products like my favorite Amazing Engine game, For Faerie, Queen, and Country. Since her TSR days, she's remarried was doing well until the economy collapsed. She has been out of work for two years (and her husband for over a year). To make things worse, their daughter fell off a balcony and was injured pretty badly (although remarkably not as severely as she could have been) earlier this year.
The readers and friends of RetroRoleplaying raised almost $600 for Karen in mid-May while the folks on a non-gaming message board Karen and I are both on raised about $1500. By skipping some other bills, this allowed Karen and family to get current on their mortgage and so they apply for unemployment forbearance. They were supposed to hear back within 10 days. Right. Over a month later with no answer in sight, only promises that they were working on it and the foreclosure date approaching rapidly, her husband told them that if they did not get the promised answer immediately, they would turn the matter over to a lawyer. An official looking letter arrived within a couple of days. Karen's husband opened the letter with much trepidation....
...to find good news. They qualify for unemployment forbearance. From August 1, 2012 through July 1, 2013, their mortgage payments will be $1 a month (and Citibank will make their escrow payments, which amount will apparently be added onto the mortgage). They are both back on extended unemployment, so this should make things work out -- provided the economy picks up enough that at least one of them has a job by July 2013. Of course with no unemployment coming in for a couple of months (as it expired) while having to come up with three months worth of mortgage payments, they are behind with their car payments and with some utility bills.
It would be nice if they could start August clean and able to just worry about their daughter's recovery, so we are renewing the fund drive for a few days. We don't have nearly as much to raise these time and it is probably not as critical (losing a car is not nearly as bad as losing a house), but they really need to current on utility, insurance, and other payments by the end of this month.
For the next 3 days or so -- say until 9pm CDT Saturday evening -- any money donated to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund will be split 50/50 (after Paypal fees, if any) between Karen and the cancer fund, with the following proviso, after a $315 lab bill is paid by the cancer fund, I'll donate 100% of the money raised thereafter to Karen. For example, if $400 is raised, I'll split it with Karen ($200 for her bills, $200 for our cancer bill); but if we raise $900, I'll donate everything over the $315 to Karen ($585 in this example). Unlike in May, I'm not in the middle of a donation drive so I do not have a lot of donor goodies to offer beyond access to the usual donor downloads. However, I do have a copy of the AD&D Rogue's Gallery supplement autographed by Erol Otus that I will give to a lucky donor via a drawing, one chance per $10 donated. Note: I bought this supplement used and its condition is "good to very good", but it is signed by the cover artist. The drawing will be held during my Sunday game this weekend.
BTW, someone asked about taxes, as in would Karen have to pay US income tax on the money she has received from these donation drives. The answer, according to one of my accountant clients, is that this money is a gift and as such is not considered "taxable income" by the US government. So all money you donate going to help real people not to feed the federal government.
So here's another chance to help two decent causes with one donation. If you can spare a ten or a twenty, or even more, it will help so much. Karen and family can keep their house and start with a clean slate bill-wise in August. To donate and help both Karen and myself, send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- via Paypal before 9pm CDT Saturday evening (July 7th). If you can't donate, good thoughts and prayers for Karen and her family are more than welcome. Feel free to spread the good news on the house front.