Hendersonville residents offer random acts of kindness

SHARING IS CARING: Hendersonville residents, including Jamie McMinn, featured, have donated funds to help community members struggling to pay for utilities during COVID-19. Photo courtesy of the City of Hendersonville

Inspired by an article about the city of Hendersonville’s efforts to help community members struggling to pay for utilities during COVID-19, resident Lia Barth called the city’s customer service department to contribute to a randomly selected water customer with a delinquent bill.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have kept my full-time job during all this,” Barth says. “I’ve been trying to keep my eyes open and my ears open on ways that I could help. Even if it is just a small way.”

Jamie McMinn, the customer service representative who took Barth’s call, followed her lead, contributing to another customer’s past-due balance.

“When Lia called, I was thinking this is really important, and we need to find a way to make this happen,” says McMinn. “My husband and I have both stayed employed during this process. We haven’t received a financial hit during this time, but looking around, the need is astonishing. I’ve been so blessed, why not contribute to someone else so they can be blessed?”

The pair’s generosity has inspired other customer service team members to do the same.

“We understand how disruptive COVID-19 has been on the community,” says Assistant City Manager Brian Pahle. “Customer service has established a temporary payment plan for people with past due utility accounts which allows them to pay off their balances over a period of twelve months.” (To learn more about this program, visit avl.mx/7y6.)

Pahle says he appreciates the citizen’s compassionate gesture and how quickly the Finance Department made it possible for the public to be able to help their neighbors.

Any community member interested in paying it forward can contact the city’s customer service at (828) 697-3052 or email customerservice@hvlnc.gov.

— Adapted from a press release from the City of Hendersonville

This article is part of COVID Conversations, a series of short features based on interviews with members of our community during the coronavirus pandemic in Western North Carolina. If you or someone you know has a unique story you think should be featured in a future issue of Xpress, please let us know at news@mountainx.com.


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