Financial assistance fair draws hundreds

Posted at: 10/19/2013 10:34 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A financial assistance fair drew hundreds of people to Northwest Albuquerque on Saturday; many who are not able to pay for basic necessities.

The say when it rains, it pours.

For Donna Griego, life has turned into one big flood.

"We just hit hard times. I fell and fractured my hand at work," she said. "I’m taking care of my mom who's got dementia. My husband's pretty ill."

Griego says she has not been able to work since her injury.

Her bills, she adds, keep piling up.

"I've been without water for two weeks," she said. "And then two days after that my lights get turned off."

She is desperate for any relief.

She and hundreds of others went to St. Pius High School early Saturday morning.

Destiny Preciado says she just moved to Albuquerque after losing her job in Amarillo.

"Just help for me and my kids, we moved here Saturday trying to get housing assistance, just see if I can just get stable and on my feet," she said.

Rashada Irving says she brought her mom to the fair, “to try and find a job, because my mom has been having a lot of trouble getting work."

The assistance fair brings about 40 agencies together to help needy residents in October, just in time for the winter months.

They help with everything from finding a job, to avoiding foreclosure and even hand out diapers.

"We live here,” said Maddie Martinez Vega, PNM’s low income program manager. “This is our community also and we want to reach out to those that need that support and help. Some folks have never been in this situation before. It's new for them, newly unemployed. They don't know where to turn."

Dozens of people sat in a long line, applying for help through PNM’s Good Neighbor Fund.

Martinez Vega says every year for the past three years the fund has given $1 million in aid.

A family of six that received help from PNM has an annual income of $26,000.

PNM estimates it will help about 2,000 customers at the fair, and more than 10,000 this year; and that gives people like Donna Griego hope for a brighter tomorrow.

"It's amazing trying to help all of us,” she said “That's wonderful that there's people like that out here."

PNM hopes you will donate to its Good Neighbor Fund.

You can call PNM at 1-888-342-5766 to sign up or visit their website here.

Even a dollar a month will help thousands of people every year, says PNM.