Grandmother Raises Grandchildren, Receives Meals at Home
Irma Butler London is a soft-spoken woman who measures her words carefully. She lives quietly, or as quietly as one can with three grandchildren aged 12, 9 and 8. Mrs. London is the primary caregiver for these kids and depends on the Meals 4 Kids program from Meals on Wheels People to provide balanced meals for herself and the children. Meals 4 Kids is a contract through the Portland Children’s Levy. Children ages 0-18 and their caregivers who live in the City of Portland are eligible to receive services if the family income is 185% of the federal poverty level or lower.
The family lived in a cozy apartment in Northeast Portland for six years and Mrs. London loved the neighborhood. “The neighbors were nice,” she said. “They would greet you when they saw you at the mailbox. It was a quiet neighborhood.”
But it all came to a crashing halt on the night of Nov. 2. “My next door neighbor had always acted a bit strange, but he finally went over the edge,” Mrs. London said. “He began destroying things in his apartment and piled his belongings in a heap.” And then he set the building on fire. It was 3 a.m. when Mrs. London heard a “whoooosh”, opened the door and saw the flames. She and her grandchildren escaped the firestorm with nothing but their pajamas. “The people from the neighborhood were amazing,” she said. “They came with coats and shoes for the children and blankets and food.”
With the help of Self Enhancement, Inc., Mrs. London and her grandchildren moved to a residence hotel. And the delivery of her Meals 4 Kids meals continued in her new location. “The meals are a huge help to my family,” she said. Early in January, Mrs. London and her grandchildren moved to a rental house. “The best part is that this is a house,” she said. “I won’t have to worry about anyone trying to burn it down and the kids will have a yard to play in.”
“You know, I never thought we would be able to smile again,” she said. “But it’s all going to work out.” If you are interested in volunteering to deliver meals for the Meals 4 Kids program, please visit us at volunteer.mealsonwheelspeople.org or call Catie at 503.953.8101.