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Family Grateful for Assistance

06.04.2008Sarasota Herald-Tribune

By JENNIFER SHEA

MANATEE COUNTY – “I can’t tell you how I cried,” Judy Schweim said. “I was so overwhelmed by the generosity of our community.”

Schweim, her husband, Jim, and their daughter, Jamie, 7, received help in December from Season of Sharing, a fundraising campaign to assist the needy. Jim became unable to work due to illness. Judy was working part time as a caterer when their house was redistricted into a flood zone. Jim’s rapidly escalating health care costs and the increase in their homeowners insurance proved devastating to their meager budget.

Judy Schweim felt “the weight of the world” on her shoulders as Christmas approached.

Because of Season of Sharing, Judy Schweim said, Jamie was given dolls. “We had groceries,” Schweim said. “SCTI culinary students brought Christmas dinner to our house.”

In addition, Jim Schweim received several thousand dollars in health care support from the Healthwell Foundation for his chemotherapy.

Judy Schweim has completed her certification as an EKG technician and a phlebotomist.

“I know the jobs are out there and I’m going to work,” she said.

Schweim cites constant encouragement in her career pursuit from Dianne K. Perry, the program coordinator of the New Options program at Manatee Technical Institute.

“Because of her encouragement, I have written and received two grants,” Schweim said. “So I’ll be continuing my education at MTI.”

“I really appreciate all the help,” Jim Schweim said. “I’m just a grain of sand on the beach and these people sent in money and helped me. A lot of them live paycheck to paycheck and didn’t have extra to send, but they made a donation. It helped my family through a tough time. That touches my heart.”