Share the Season helps widow pay for unexpected final expenses

Mickey needed help getting an ID, so he visited the Salvation Army’s Emergency Social Services department where a caseworker explained that he would need to get his birth certificate first.

Unfortunately, Mickey didn’t know, or couldn’t remember, most of the information required to order the document from the state’s Office of Vital Statistics.

The caseworker called Mickey’s mother, Maggie, to get the necessary information. During the conversation Maggie apologized for her inability to stay on track, saying that she was under extreme emotional distress. Consequently, she was having difficulty providing what would normally be basic information regarding the time and place of her son’s birth. It was apparent to the caseworker that Mickey’s mother needed help too.

Maggie explained to the caseworker that she was trying to comprehend the circumstances of her husband’s recent death. They had been married for more than 20 years when her husband, Mel, was suddenly gone. In disbelief and racked with grief, she was trying to imagine how she would live without him. Without Mel, how would she find the strength to carry on? Without money in the bank, how would she pay his funeral expenses?

Maggie said that Mel, a retired mechanic, had acute health issues and had recently suffered two strokes and had coronary bypass surgery. He made it through the surgery without incident and was quickly on the mend. She told the caseworker, “Mel was recovering so well we planned to buy a ‘fixer-upper’ and do the work ourselves. We were also going to travel. Our path was set for us to enjoy our golden years together.”

Back in the swing of things after surgery, Mel was helping repair a friend’s R.V. He was under the vehicle working when the brakes suddenly released. The R.V. rolled over, crushed Mel and, according to the medical examiner, killed him instantly.

His friend did not carry homeowner’s or liability insurance, and Mel didn’t carry life insurance. Maggie was not able to emotionally cope with the sudden loss of her partner and the financial burden left her feeling helpless. She just could not get her mind around the catastrophe, much less around the necessary business of burial.

The caseworker helped Maggie gather the required documentation and fill out an application for the Share the Season program.

Share the Season, now in its 23rd year, is a partnership of The Wichita Eagle and The Salvation Army, who are joined this year by NonprofitGO and Intrust Bank.

Share the Season is designed to provide financial relief to families and adults who are working and affected by an unforeseen life event that causes a financial hardship. Each family receives one-time help in paying expenses, such as medical bills, utilities and other expenses. Since its inception the program has helped around 4,000 families through community contributions.

The Salvation Army provides case management by meeting with people, reviewing their financial situation and trying to find the help they need. The Eagle publishes stories about recipients and spreads awareness of the program. NonprofitGO and Intrust Bank manage the financial component of the program.

To assist Maggie, Share the Season paid Mel’s final expenses, allowing her grieve without the added uncertainties.


To apply for assistance, visit or The Salvation Army, 350 N. Market. The application deadline is noon, January 15, 2023. For more information, call 316-263-2769.


Send contributions to The Salvation Army, Share the Season, 350 N. Market, Wichita, KS 67202. To donate online, visit If you have any questions about donating, call 316-425-6156.