Lawton_With rising gas and energy prices, many people are having a difficult time making ends meet. Some feel there is no where to turn for help with their finances. That's where "MIGHT Community Development and Resource Center" in Lawton steps in. The organization gives those who need assistance a helping hand with a little extra cash - but they have to earn it. In return for assistance from the organization, they must make a 90-day commitment to the program and attend budgeting workshops.
Some people had a difficult time with their finances before gas was at $4 per gallon and utility rates jumped an additional $20 per month. This program breaks the economic stranglehold as it helps people pay their bills and end what could end in tremendous personal and financial loss. Some families or individuals entering the program are living in poverty, or are among the working poor, and with a slumping national economy, it's only getting worse.
MIGHT doesn't offer a hand out, it offers a hand up. "Sometimes help is monetary, but the best help you can give a person is to encourage them, and show them, and teach them and keep telling them, 'You're going to get through this. It's going to be ok,'" says MIGHT Founder and Director Bernita Taylor. The center is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization affiliated with the United Way of Lawton-Fort Sill. During the program, each client sets goals to be completed within 90-days. These goals are to help direct the client to get back on their own two feet.
Taylor began the program five years ago after having been in extremely difficult situations in her life. "I've been homeless. I've not known how I was going to take care of my children," she says. "I've put all the blankets on the bed and told the kids we're going camping and that's why it's cold in the house." She says she never wants another parent to have to go through what she has.
MIGHT does not receive federal funding or grants. It operates on generous donations. Taylor works a second full-time job - never taking a cut of her own paycheck for herself - to pay her employees. "Those faces that I see that say, 'If it wasn't for you I would have given up,' keeps me going," she says. "Because it's not, again, glamour, or 'Oh, you know, I got to help somebody.' It's getting down deep and dirty, and saying 'ok, keep above ground, we can do this, if you just keep going,' and working day in a day out with people in need, and trying to keep the hope alive."