Kathleen Fodera’s letter to the Orion Community

Orion woman found burning furniture is now burning with love

She’s been burning wood and even her furniture since October when it began to turn cold, but after her neighbors checked on her and discovered what she had been doing, Kathleen Fodera said she’s overcome with warmth from all the support she’s received.

“In the fall I collected every log, piece of wood and sticks I could,” Fodera said, adding her basement was full of wood. “I became an expert at starting fires. But it does not take long to burn through that. But it’s fortunate that I had that.”

Fodera lost her gas in March and electricity in August. Because she’s on a well, losing her electricity also meant losing her water.

After Fodera’s story was featured in a segment on Fox 2 News Detroit, people jumped in to help.

The neighbors who helped her set up a GoFundMe page, raising $4,877 to help pay to keep her heat and electricity running. Monies will also be used for necessary repairs and past due property taxes.

The neighbors are also working on getting Kathleen a car.

“I was so overcome with everything I saw from my neighbors – the love they showed. I was so moved I couldn’t keep from crying,” Fodera said.

Fodera said she had previously worked as a manager of a health food store in Shelby Township, and before that had a background in real estate. When she began to have recurring problems with her car, this led to her losing her job.

“But I’m looking to pick up a waitress job to make some money,” she said.

Fodera said she wanted to write a letter to the community so that people would hear her words and how much their generosity means to her.

“I don’t want anybody out there to think I was indifferent to anything. Every kind word means the world to me.”

Kathleen Fodera’s letter to the Orion Community

Hello, my name is Kathleen Fodera. I am the local lady who was burning her furniture to stay warm. I am reaching out to the community and beyond.

The day after Christmas, when my neighbors Tim and Valarie Stewart realized my dilemma they were like, “No! No!” They brought over wood, water, food, sleeping bags, candles, etc.

They said with my permission they’d put this out there on Facebook (Lake Orion Chat Room). I said “Ok” and within in an hour a young man was emptying his truck filled with wood into my garage. And it continued like that throughout the day and night. People showing up with wood, water, food (some already cooked), fire logs, candles, lighters, paper towels, etc.

Not only was there wood for my fire, food and water for my body, but the fire in my heart had been lit. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring from my “neighbors.” I should add here that Tim and Valarie continued and have to date continued to check on things and me.

Travis Wilson showed up with wood, water and fire logs. He set up the TV interview with Hilary Golston with Fox 2 News Detroit. And he set up the GoFundMe website. He brought me new pots and pans and a builder (who also brought food and Kroger cards) to check out any potential issues, such as broken pipes (there was one). Travis has maintained daily contact with me, to date.

I would also like to lift up Hilary’s name and her cameraman. All should know that in person Hilary is as kind, nice and real as it gets. By Travis arranging it, by Hilary reporting it, and her cameraman filming it, they broke a story and brought to light a very serious issue for me and others like me. People, regular people like yourselves, your neighbors, who’ve fallen in the cracks, who suffer in silence.

People in public have approached me and thanked me for “getting naked” in public and bringing attention to this. They thanked me and hugged me, saying there was a lot of this. I took this to mean, by the passionate way they spoke, they were really speaking about themselves. I told Hilary that I hoped it helped others.

On the flipside, however, it was not all perfect. The pain in this world won’t allow us to coexist or continue in a state of love. There were some ugly things said about me and unkind things done. Example: my overstuffed mailbox was cleared out by someone.

But I make the choice not to give time and power to the negative and toxic. Simply put, there are haters who want to drain us and put out our lights. I choose to stay focused on the love that’s changed my world. Love was the most valuable resource I got out of this. Christ says, “The greatest gift of all is love.” I know you felt it too, that’s why you reached out.

I need to lift up Barbara Leonard with St. Vincent de Paul and St. Vincent de Paul. Through her compassionate efforts, I was able to get my heat and electric restored within two days.

Not having Wi-Fi, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., accounts, I have been unable to reach out to you and thank you. There are too many names to list, and those I encountered in public moved me to tears.

So, since I’ve already been “naked in public” I’d like to put it “all” out there. My phone number is 248-238-6642. I have another phone, 586-453-6833, but it’s not with me at the moment. No voicemails, please. I haven’t figured that out yet, seriously. Maybe I’ll make a new friend, as I have already.

This town (and the country) is the best. You are an example to the world, changing it one person at a time. Lake Orion doesn’t know the word stranger.

If there’s one song that encompasses all this, it’d be Misty Edward’s “Arms wide open.” (Google it). In the middle she sings a chorus over and over: “…now I know what love is…now I know what love is.” At the very end she sings, “I will go anywhere for love, I will give anything for love…I will give everything for love.”

Recognize yourself Lake Orion? America?

There is an upside here for homeowners and realtors. If the rest of the state and country see what kind of people live here, everyone will want to move here.

Love you Lake Orion…and you love me back.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Fodera




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