published Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Chattanooga's Neediest Cases Fund helps man get exam and glasses


by Naomi Jagoda
Ralph Graham received money from the Neediest Cases fund for an eye exam and glasses.
Ralph Graham received money from the Neediest Cases fund for an eye exam and glasses.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

HOW TO DONTE


Chattanooga's Neediest Cases Fund serves clients of the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults. The fund is administered by the Partnership to fulfill client needs that cannot be met through traditional funding sources. Donations are tax deductible as permitted by law. To donate, a coupon can be found on Page B8. You also can donate online 24/7 at www.timesfreepress.com/neediestcases.

Ralph Graham may be disabled and have cerebral palsy, but his caseworker said he tries to be self-sufficient.

He has a headset for his phone so he can talk more easily. He also has a computer and uses a fax machine, said Christina St. Germaine, his caseworker of several years at the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults.

"He's very easy to work with. He does not let his disability stop him," St. Germaine said. "He tries to do whatever he can to help himself."

Still, Graham, 59, does get some assistance. Because he is in a wheelchair, he has a volunteer shopper who meets him at the grocery store and helps put items in the cart and then takes the groceries to his home, St. Germaine said.

A homemaker provided by elder services also does some light housework for him, St. Germaine said.

And in June, Graham got an eye examination and glasses with $30 from the Neediest Cases Fund. The eye care was provided through the Partnership's work with Lenscrafters' Gift of Sight program, St. Germaine said.

Graham said he applied for the money because he's on a fixed income. He receives disability money every month, but that doesn't cover all his expenses.

"I can't do a lot with the income," he said.

Graham said he's thankful he received the money for the glasses that he uses for reading and distance vision.

The glasses also help him when he uses his motorized wheelchair.

"I can see far away where I'm going," Graham said.

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