Community support for a local handyman — already known for offering his services free of charge — doubled the amount of money he was able to give 20 single moms to help them buy school supplies for their kids.
“I was extremely surprised by all the support,” said Albert Dashevsky, the handyman who started the school supply fund for single moms. “The reaction was more positive than I imagined. I guess good is contagious. I think once somebody starts, it empowers other people to go ahead.”
As we reported earlier this month, Dashevsky pledged $1,000 to help 20 single moms buy school supplies. The effort was born out of Dashevsky’s work offering handyman services for free as a way to carrying on the tradition of charity and generosity of his father, who was murdered by a business partner four years ago.
After Dashevsky posted about his project on social media, he said the response was enormous. Approximately 70 single mothers applied or were nominated by friends to receive the money.
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However, many also offered their own money for the cause. The contributions, which ranged from $50 to $250, doubled the pool of money and allowed Dashevsky to write checks for $100, instead of $50, to the single mothers who were selected through a raffle he conducted last week.
Dashevsky said he even received contributions from some of the single mother’s who asked him to work on their homes.
“They knew I don’t take money for my work but they read about how I’m contributing money and they said, ‘here’s $50, put it towards the pot.’ So I thought that was really cool how both things came together,” he said.
The checks went out last week and were accompanied by a letter explaining the story behind the project.
Caroline Grasso was one of the mothers who received a check.
“I literally almost could have cried because I was just really moved by how a stranger did that,” she said. “I mean, he doesn’t know me and he just mailed me a $100 check out of nowhere. I can’t believe how incredible that is.”
Grasso, whose husband passed away almost four years ago from a rare bone cancer, said she plans to stretch the money out until christmas and use it to buy additional school supplies and a winter coat for her 8-year-old son. She said she was so appreciative of all the people who chipped in to help fund Albert’s effort.
“It means a lot to know there are people out there who have sympathy and compassion for single moms and who actually donated. How many times do you hear people say, ‘Oh, I’ll donate to that cause,’ but they never do?” she said.
Dashevsky said that more than anything, he hoped his project had encouraged people to seek others to help or to seek help for themselves.
“I received so many stories from people and I can relate to these stories. When you see a person on the street, they can be hurting so much inside and on the outside you will never know. But they might need help or they might need somebody to speak to,” he said. “I was like that myself and this is one of the reasons why I do what I do. Because that’s how I was dealing with my father’s death.”
Radmila Faylayeva, another single mother who received a check this week, said the project had restored her faith in humanity. She is raising a 3-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl and said her ex-husband provides little financial support. She reached out to Dashevsky after seeing his Facebook post and told him about how she had fallen behind on rent this month after missing work due to illness.
“It is hard for single mothers to get by. So for complete strangers to want to help in any way that they can, it was just mind blowing to me. I was very appreciative of it,” she said. “I really want to thank Albert for all that he’s doing. I know that he’s doing this in memory of his Dad. I’m sure his Dad is smiling down at him and is very proud of the man he’s become.”
Dashevsky still helps single mothers out around the house. If you’d like to ask for his service, email him at email@example.com.