Lisa Natham, a single mom with a 28-year-old autistic son, was struggling to work and maintain her health. In addition to caring for her son’s needs, she also suffered from both lupus and asthma, so she often caught pneumonia and eventually became too sick to work.
When her air conditioning system went out last fall, Natham had nowhere to turn. That’s when a friend nominated her for Hobaica Services’ BEGIN program that provides new heating and cooling system free of charge to families or individuals in need every year. Candidates are announced each week during November and December.
“I got a call from the company and they explained that we’d been chosen,” Natham said. “It was a miracle. I’m still astounded by it — I’m still blown away.”
Hobaica replaced Natham’s air conditioner, provided her with a new gas furnace and re-ducted the attic.
“They never treated me like a charity case,” Natham said. “They treated me exactly like one of their paying customers and that was the best part of it.”
This is the sixth year Hobaica has conducted the innovative BEGIN program donating some 124 tons of cooling and 667 hours of labor. Since the program’s debut, Hobaica has helped 40 households impacting 69 adults and 36 children.
The BEGIN program was also a godsend for Ernesto and Diana Lopez. Their daycare center helped them pay their bills, but when an employee left and Ernesto’s frequent hospital visits left him unable to work, they could only take care of half the number of children.
“We were just barely making it and then we started having car troubles, in addition to trouble with our heater and air conditioning,” Ernesto said.
His sister-in-law explained their circumstances to Hobaica who selected them to receive a new unit.
“It meant the world to us because running a daycare center in the summer without having a cooler would’ve been torture for the kids,” Ernesto said. “It’s a beautiful thing that Hobaica does for people in need. It inspires us to give too.”