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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Harmony Happenings

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Harmony United Methodist needs volunteers to help with Junior Church. The leader is responsible for planning a lesson and providing a snack for the youngsters. Please add your name to the sign up sheet if you are able to do one of the Sundays this year. Junior Church provides activities for the children while their parents are in the Worship Service. The youngsters stay for the first part of the service. They are present for announcements, birthdays, songs, and concerns. Pastor Bob has a short message for them and then they move to Fellowship Hall for their lesson and snacks. Leaders are needed.

Remember items that are needed for various missions: Bibles, money or items for the Flood Buckets, donations for New Souls (shoes for children), eyeglasses, and old cell phones (battered women).

I took a friend to get unemployment compensation. Unemployment is a Godsend to people in temporary financial difficulty due to a layoff. Recipients no longer get a check. It now comes as a Visa card and Friend knew that I was familiar with the use of ATM's. My friend should have received $323 for the week but it did not work out that way.

There are banks and 7 Elevens that are supposed to have free service but we could not locate any in our area. The paperwork accompanying the debit card informed my friend that taking the card to a bank teller would incur a $2.50 fee. We thought the ATM would be less but it was not. Visa charged $1.25 to retrieve the cash via the machine. The bank charged $2 for using the ATM. The machine said there were insufficient funds for $320.00 (the combined $3.25 fee was 25 cents too much). Machines don't have dollar bills. I tried again, didn't think it would work, but tried to get $310. The ATM we chose did not do $10 bills either. The most I could get for my friend was $300 of the unemployment compensation.

The remaining $23 shrunk to $19.75. If we try another machine, my friend would loose another $3.25 or more in fees if we could find one that would give out a $10 bill. Driving to Terre Haute or Indianapolis to get the funds from a free machine could cost more in gas than the price of the fees.

The $300 then had to be deposited in Friend's account to be able to write checks and spend as needed. I asked if there were other options to the card and was told, "Not that I know of". Friend was told it could also be used as a charge card but neither of us were sure about that. That could really be a disaster to the unemployed who are already in a vulnerable financial state.

My friend showed me a lengthy list of charges for lost cards, balance inquiries, etc. Does the state earn money from promoting these cards? Is there another choice in the system? Does anyone have advice I can pass along to my friend? Where does Friend's $19.75 go? Yes, it will still be there next week but, unless the full amount (less the fees) is divisible by 20, it can't be gotten at an ATM. Yes, it can be used to buy an item that costs $19.75 or less with tax. It would seem that Friend will never be able to break even. Does it eventually go to Indiana Unclaimed?

Maybe, I just don't understand this system and surely wasn't much help to my friend. The old unemployment checks method gave the recipient access to the full amount that he/she was entitled to draw. Probably the check cashing fees at some banks ruined that plan. A direct deposit system would put the amount in the recipient's bank account. That would seem better to me. There must be a better system than the debit card. Hopefully, my friend will be called back to work in 2-3 weeks and won't have to worry about it anymore. Until then $300 is better than nothing, but every $19.75 is still needed for food, school supplies, etc. It does no good held in limbo.

Arlene and Ward Meyers invited some ladies over to lunch at their home on Tuesday. Rachel Fagg and Mary Ray from Eastside School, retired teacher Sharene Wallenbrock, and I enjoyed their wonderful hospitality. We sat under the covered porch as the ceiling fan whirled above us. Arlene conducted a tour of their numerous flowerbeds. They are a couple after my own heart. Gorgeous tomatoes hung on beautiful handmade wood, pyramidal, trellis sculptures painted in cheery colors. The veggies and flowers shared space in curving beds. The rhubarb was more like a shrub. Arlene said manure was the secret ingredient. I lost count of the names of different hostas when she passed 10. One was Emily Dickison, another Robert Frost, while a favorite of mine was called guacamole.

Ward watched the oven while the ladies chatted. We were treated to homemade potpie, zucchini bread, and a wonderful green bean-feta cheese-tomato-shrimp salad with a garlicky sauce. Sounds strange, tastes great! Sharene had brought an orange jello salad and I made a German chocolate pie. We munched and talked until our posteriors became part of the dining room chairs. Mary had to return to school and Rachel wanted to get back to family who were visiting from China. Sharene and I stayed a bit longer to visit with the Meyers in their living room. We enjoyed their many crafts, paintings, furniture, and musical instruments. Such good hosts! Thanks for the 'invite'.

Happy Birthday to Jane Mace (9th), and Johnny Pell (10th), Karson Butts (11th), Barbara Pell (13th), Anita Clark (15th), Peggy Evitts (19th), Janna Short (22nd), Annie Pell and Pastor Bob Kumpf (24th), Saylor Clark (25th), Schuyler Brinson and John Bridgewater and Sally Evinger (26th), Jeni Bridgewater (30th), and Joey Evinger (31st). Happy Anniversary to Mr. & Mrs. Randy Bowman (11th).

Area Calendar:

Aug. 10 -- 50th Annual Ice Cream Social at Carbon UMC

Aug. 11 -- Flockhart Reunion at Harmony Park starting at noon

Harmony United Methodist Calendar:

Aug. 12 -- Worship Service 9 a.m., Sunday School 10:45 a.m.

Aug. 15 -- Christian Quilters 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Aug. 27 -- United Methodist Women 7 p.m.