Letter: 'Panhandler' has seemingly legitimate issues

To the Editors:
This letter will expand on the story of the man who has been “panhandling” in Wilton and whom Mr. Schiaroli wrote about and kindly tried to help, even by taking him for a possible job.  For the past three months, a group of us have also responded to him, starting in January when the weather was about 20 degrees every day and he was standing in awkward places for getting money, and when he had a “turn-off notice” on his sign and also the fact of “4 children.”
After getting the man’s name and phone number and hearing his story, still in January, we got a copy of his electrical heat bill totaling some $2,400, and with our donations, we paid off the critical sum for turn-off (some $400). We have also been in touch with our director of social services here in town and she has gotten a professional service person down in Fordham to check on the family and seek some help for their needs. Having seen him again several times in Wilton, we have also seen his wife and learned that she suffers from some serious results of cancer, and that he comes here to try to obtain at least the $90-plus a month that has to be paid for that same heating/electrical bill. We gather that any current part-time job offers he has gotten will not pay enough for him to support his family and pay the daily train fare.
So our residents should know that several efforts are under way to try to address this man’s complicated situation even while we regret that he feels he has had to use us, in a generous Wilton town, to solve his heavy problems. With warmer weather, he will also be trying to get work in landscaping which he says he can do well after recovering from construction injuries in a company accident two years ago. So the story is not a simple one and seems to be quite legitimate.
Constance Tate
Wilton, March 30