Archive for Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lawrence family seeking to avoid homelessness, get to Northwest for new job

January 29, 2013


Lawrence mother of seven Rachel Quesenberry holds her youngest child, Nehemiah, 2, while several of his sisters, who are home-schooled, do schoolwork on Monday in their west Lawrence apartment. After her husband, Don, lost his managerial job in Lawrence, car troubles have resulted in two unsuccessful trips to Lincoln City, Ore., where Don has a new job waiting for him and the family has put down a deposit on a rental home.

Lawrence mother of seven Rachel Quesenberry holds her youngest child, Nehemiah, 2, while several of his sisters, who are home-schooled, do schoolwork on Monday in their west Lawrence apartment. After her husband, Don, lost his managerial job in Lawrence, car troubles have resulted in two unsuccessful trips to Lincoln City, Ore., where Don has a new job waiting for him and the family has put down a deposit on a rental home.

Don Quesenberry

Don Quesenberry

During the Ballard Center’s annual Adopt-a-Family Program, several of Don Quesenberry’s children brought in their own piggy banks to help other needy families.

“The moment was so moving, it brought us to tears,” said Kyle Roggenkamp, program director at the Ballard Center. “They needed that money.”

Now the Ballard Center is trying to return the favor.

Quesenberry, 40, of Lawrence and his wife, Rachel, 37, and their seven children were left scrambling when Don lost his managerial job in Lawrence in September. The family had moved to the area from Colorado two years ago for the job, which was now gone.

After a few months of unemployment, Don secured a flooring job in Lincoln City, Ore., through a former employer. The family put down a deposit on a rental home in Oregon, and planned to pack everyone up and make the 1,900-mile trek in a 15-passenger van.

The van broke down, delaying their plans. They bought another van, and, on their last dime, left again for Oregon earlier this month.

The replacement van barely made it past Topeka when the engine rattled and started smoking. They pulled over to find the engine shot and no way to get back to Lawrence.

“We were kind of crushed,” Don said. “It was kind of like the dominoes started falling.”

Don and his family, out of options and money, called the Ballard Center for help.

The nonprofit sent a large van to pick up the family, who still had a month left on their rental home. Now the agency is raising funds to help the family — on the brink of homelessness — get to Oregon.

The Ballard Center sees hard-luck stories every day, but the struggles of the Quesenberry family struck a nerve, Roggenkamp said.

“They’re just amazing people,” he said.

The family has until Feb. 1 in their current two-bedroom rental home, but from there “things could get ugly,” Don said.

The Ballard Center will be collecting funds for the family to help them get back on the road and into a more stable living situation in Oregon.

Don said the experience has been a hit to his pride, and it’s been tough asking for help, especially after seeing firsthand the struggles of other families at the Ballard Center.

The family, which includes six daughters and a son, ages 2 to 18, has banded together, Don said, and the experience has given them a better appreciation for others who face poverty.

“Things can get bad fast,” Don said.

Those interested in helping can call Roggenkamp at 842-0440.


Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

Seven kids, and a bun in the oven. Two bedroom house. Homeschooling. Sounds like a recipe for a great reality show.

I wish them well.

Oh_dear 5 years, 4 months ago

Hmmmm... I'm familiar with this family. Interesting story.

Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

Plan A: Prayer

Plan B: More Prayer

Plan C: Yet more Prayer

Plan D; Public Safety Net

Plan E: Private Safety Net

Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

Psalm 127:3-5

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Be fruitful and multiply. Yes, times one.

friendlyjhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Can't agree with much about how this family choses to live their lives but I am sorry for their travails. That is all the charity I can spare them while I am working to keep myself and my obligations taken care of.

Tonya Foster 5 years, 4 months ago

Confused. Story says 7 children ages 5-18. But pic says youngest child is 2 yr old Nehemiah. Also no mention of the woman being "with child". Right there would have been a good thing to mention seeing as they need financial support right now.

Shaun Hittle 5 years, 4 months ago

The woman is five months pregnant, and the youngest child is 2. So, apologize for the error.

Shaun LJW

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

Don't we still have greyhound or some other bus service? They have helped the community, then life threw them a curve. Help the man out with bus tickets so he can go where he can work and support his family.

From what I read N Dakota is booming right now and would probably offer better employment opportunities for all the working-age members of the family.

gatekeeper 5 years, 4 months ago

I just read the other day that so many people have headed to N. Dakota looking for work and there's not enough work for them all. The Salvation Army was actually buying bus tickets for people to get them back home because these people have used up what money they had and are now stuck in N. Dakota.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 4 months ago

I have read on the rentals in ND. Near the boom areas, rents have inflated to 2000/mo. and upward causing shanty towns made from cargo containers to rise. I am sure its not a real family0friendly environment. Also, the lack of women has created a dangerous situation where men out number women 5:1. Women are reporting incidents of being propositioned on the streets by men waiving their new found wealth.

optimist 5 years, 4 months ago

For all of the money the government doles out to people who avoid working there is nothing available to a family doing what they can to stay off the dole? I applaud him for doing what it takes to take care of his family and making hard choices. We should all be lining up to help these people with what they need to get back on their feet rather than judging their family choices as if it had anything to do with his losing his job.

seriouscat 5 years, 4 months ago

I wish this family the best and hope that they find the kindness and compassion they showed to others waiting for them at the beginning, middle, and end of this journey. Hang in there Quesenberry’s! Some of us do care...a whole awful lot!

50YearResident 5 years, 4 months ago

I just heard on the KC news yesterday that it takes $350,000 to raise 1 child to the age of 18 years old. Check my math here to make sure this is correct: 8 x 350,000 = $2,800,000. This looks like a long row to hoe.

JackMcKee 5 years, 4 months ago

What sort of job just waits around for you to show up whenever you get around to it? There's more to this story than what's being reported in this fluff piece. I feel like I'm reading a high school paper a lot of times.

Catalano 5 years, 4 months ago

I feel like I'm reading a high school jock's comments a lot of times.

lawrencechick 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't think it's just a local problem. After the Te'o debacle, you have to wonder if they even teach investigative journalism anymore in the schools.

Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

I surmise these folks are adherents of Quiverfull, a movement among some conservative evangelical Christian couples who promote procreation, and see children as a blessing from God. A well known family of this sect are the Duggars.

These folks have a hard right political perspective and usually vote a straight Republican ticket. It's unlikely they voted for the "Food Stamp President" but not to worry, the majority of Americans are good, decent and caring folks and had the Quesenberrys' backs covered, reelecting Obama,. .

Had Romney and his ilk taken over the country, the food stamp program might no longer exist.

The democrats and independents who voted for Obama accept your thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Quesenberry. We don't think it's right for people, especially children in our great country to go hungry.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I surmise your comment is all supposition.

Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

7 kids, and another on the way? Home schooling? It's a very well educated supposition, and not at all unreasonable, at least for people who are intelligent and curious enough to learn about the world they live in. .

Most rational and and intelligent folks make rational suppositions every day of their lives.

You don't? .

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Freedom of speech is a grand thing. It allows you to say one thing while you're really saying something completely different.

Your supposition wasn't a supposition at all. It was a anti-Republican, pro-Democrat diatribe. This family's situation was just an excuse for the rant.

Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

Interesting. You attack my comment because it is merely "supposition." Then, when I respond to that attack, instead of countering, you attack me from another angle. It's call a "red herring" argument and it is considered a logical fallacy.

The point I made, which you have yet to adequately address, is the unmitigated hypocrisy of many Repubicans, especially among the religious right. .

Go ahead, I will give you a third chance to address my initial point. If you are up to it, of course.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

The evidence is in you final post. I accused your initial post of being an anti-Republican rant. Your final post describes the "unmitigated hypocrisy of many Republicans, especially among the religious right".

Yet there is zero evidence that this family is a member of any religious sect at all, much less the one you mentioned. There is zero evidence at all that this family voted straight Republican, straight Democrat or if they even voted at all. There is zero evidence Americans thought anything about covering their back when they voted.

Then there is the shot at Romney. I'd say his chances of doing what you said is about the same as the chances Obama would close Guantanamo in his first month in office.

And then you elect yourself spokesman for all Democrats and Independents and accept a thanks that there is no evidence has been offered.

You've built yourself a nice little house of cards. But I fear if you went went into a courtroom with the evidence you've presented here, you'd be laughed out of said courtroom. Don't give up you day job, whatever that is.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 4 months ago

The farm subsidy bill was not passed last year, because the GOP is resisting the part about food stamps. This bill and the one for the Post Office should have been passed last spring.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 4 months ago

Is anybody aware that Lincoln City, OR is a RESORT town right on the OR coast? I would give my left hmmhmm to live there. I actually DID stay there once. I rented an ocean front cottage for one week for what would now be over $1,000. For one week. Ocean front, not beach front (we actually had to walk about a half mile to the public beach access). And the entire town is set up so that EVERY home has an ocean view. Where are these people going to live? Once they get there how are they going to survive? We're not talking Kansas City or Atlanta or Houston here. Trust me on this; I KNOW this neck of the woods and there is absolutely NO industry in that area that isn't tourist based with a tiny handful of exceptions. Newport has a very small fishing cannery and there MIGHT be some light industry in Coos Bay.
This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 4 months ago

I admit, this was fifteen years ago and there may have been some growth since then but at that time, there wasn't even a grocery store in town. We had to drive north halfway to Tillamook to the 22/101 junction just to buy food.
Oh and I forgot that Tillamook has the cheese factory. Which trust me, isn't that big.

Eugehne Normandin 5 years, 4 months ago

The last thing I thought of doing when I lost my job in Lawrence was to move my family 2000 miles away. The last time I browsed the LJ World employment there were six pages of help wanted

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