I hope this letter finds you warm and safe. It’s been a long, tough winter, and I worry about our Marist Brothers’ friends across America—especially those in the Midwest and Northeast who were bombarded with record-breaking snowfalls and bone-chilling temperatures. Looking at the invoices on my desk, I see two more winter record-breakers: snow removal invoices and heating bills higher than any I’ve ever faced before.
Without your financial support, the forecast is disaster. Dealing with the effects of this deadly arctic freeze has crippled our budget.
I’ll begin with the snow removal invoices to plow out four Marist Brothers’ facilities, three in the Northeast and one in the Midwest. The total due is more than I can ever recall. As for our heating fuel invoice, I’m buried under bills totaling thousands of dollars beyond what we budgeted.
The total snow removal bill is $33,000. Our budget, however, only covers $20,000. The $13,000 shortfall has me frozen with worry. As for heating the four facilities, we averaged the past decade’s heating invoices and set a $50,000 budget for this winter. But as of today, I already have bills totaling $59,000…and we may need even more oil if predictions for continued snowstorms and brutal temperatures are on target.
Without support from our Marist Brothers friends, the cold, hard reality is that we simply cannot afford to pay these invoices.
We’ve tried to reduce our winter expenses—for example, having the Brothers’ driveways plowed less often. But there’s just so far we can cut back. These four facilities house elderly and disabled Brothers, so we must keep all entrances clear in case of emergency. Should a doctor or ambulance need to reach a home’s front door, there must be a clear pathway. And when nurses arrive to help the Brothers, they must be able to safely come to work each day. Of course, we all must comply with local laws, which require driveways, sidewalks, and fire hydrants to be clear of snow for public safety.
To control heating costs, the Brothers set their thermostats at 68°F during the daytime and dial the heat down at night, when they are asleep under extra blankets. Although there’s still such a chill in the air, and I refuse to make my Brothers wear down parkas in the dining room! Other than that, all that’s left to do is pray for an early spring.
I hope you understand the severity of my situation. We desperately need our extended Marist family to step up and help us cover the extraordinary costs already accumulated to keep my Brothers warm in their homes and haul away Old Man Winter’s blast of snow.
Even if you can only spare $20, your support will mean so much.
As a gentle reminder to send what you can, I have enclosed two nickels—because this winter has been two times harder than we ever expected. Even a small gift is gratefully received.
As soon as your donation arrives, every Marist Brother will want to thank you…because when you help one Brother you bring joy and happiness to us all! For this reason, I ask you to write your prayer intentions on the enclosed donation response slip and send the slip along with your donation.
I will make sure your intentions are remembered daily in prayer, and you can be sure that our Brothers will thank God for your support.
I’ll close this letter as I began. I pray that you are warm and safe in your home, weathering this harsh winter without a moment’s discomfort or concern.
God bless you for caring so deeply,
Br. Hugh P. Turley, FMS
Director of Development