My caseworker

Your agency gets a lot of grumbling (and) complaining letters. This one is just the opposite. I would like to tell you about my caseworker, Abbey VanHoeven, from the Kent County office. Two years ago I was 44 years old and homeless with two teenage children. I showed up at DHS a mental mess as I was brought up to “take care of myself.” Here I was, in the “welfare place” having to ask for help. Abbey was assigned to my case.

Not only did she make me feel like a human and that it was okay to ask for help, I walked out with a food card and hope of finding a place to live. Abbey went above and beyond the “duty” of a caseworker to help me. But most of all, she made me feel good about myself again and that things would be okay.

I was enrolled in the Michigan Works! program that put me through college and graduated the medical administrative assistance program with a 96.4 GPA, feeling good; but that was quick to end. I did not give up when resume after resume went overlooked. Finally, after 200 applications and two interviews from the whole bunch, I got a job. After six months, my back injury returned, landing me in bed for the past five weeks and a few more before we are done with treatment. My work is bending over backward to keep my job by offering me FMLA (usually one year of employment is required).

Yesterday, after being stubborn enough to let us almost starve to death, I called Abbey. We talked and she found that even working I had only been able to buy groceries twice since Thanksgiving. I had gone to local church for food and made arrangements with my electric company to hold off … but time was running out and panic of no money was hitting me hard.

Now the purpose of this letter, Abbey VanHoeven came to my house with paperwork (I live on second floor of a historical home and cannot make the steps well and had no gas in my car). Not only did she bring paperwork, she showed up with five bags of food! She had gone home on her lunch, as did her supervisor, to gather what they could spare. She knew that we had not had a loaf of bread or gallon of milk in over a
month. She used her own money to pick up some hamburger, buns, milk and bread.

Your office is very, very lucky to have someone with an attitude, smile, and love of helping people as Abbey
VanHoeven. She sets the example of human kindness. If your office has something as “Caseworker of the Year”, I would like to nominate Abbey VanHoeven. (She has mentioned previously, that she has gone to her house to get blankets for people she couldn’t help immediately).

Thank you for listening to my tale and I hope that this letter gets to the proper persons that will let Abbey know that she is one special caseworker as well as human being. I was walking with God when he gave me Abbey as a caseworker. She is truly a living angel and I know this from talking with her over the telephone and having porno meetings during the previous two years. Please, please do recognize Abbey in some way as she is truly one of the most genuinely kind persons I have ever met.