Help is available!

Dear sisters,

I am sharing some information that came across my desk on expenses for funerals for those who have died since January 20, 2020 due to the COVID-19 virus.

If you have not experienced a loss due to COVID, then I do hope that if you know somebody that has, you’ll be able to pass this information on to them.

Losing a loved one is never easy for anyone and sometimes with the expenses of funerals, it became a daunting task of just to take care of yourself from day to day. I am hoping that you will find something in this article and on the webpage that may help you.  If you need my help on anything, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With love, Jill Pyclik

International Vice President

Jillmarconi22@att.net

 

https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance

Please check out the website for more information. I have only copied what is the basic information from the FEMA website.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

How to Apply

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time

Call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA’s representatives. Multilingual services will be available.

We are experiencing high call volume on the Funeral Assistance phone line, which is causing some technical issues. Please try again later if you get a busy signal or your call doesn’t connect. There is no deadline to apply.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the application process on our Funeral Assistance FAQ page.

                                                                                                                                 Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
  • There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • Funeral expenses documents(receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
  • Proof of funds received from other sourcesspecifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
  • How Funds are Received

If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.

 

Province Meetings- A Crunch Time for Your VIO by Barbara Spreen, International Historian

 

I am a “seasoned” VIO, I attended two in-person Province meetings last year. So, you would think that this year would have been so much easier. NOT SO! First thing after the New Year, when no one is in the mood and it’s been an unusual year what with the Pandemic, I have to contact the Provinces that I’ll be meeting with via Zoom to get all their financial reports, from each chapter and the Province, signed, accurate and delivered. Seems simple enough, everyone has been filling out these forms for years, but this year the Council threw a wrench into things by trying to make the actual reporting simpler. NOT SO!

The newer, fillable, adds totals on it’s own, form confused 75% of those whose job it is to fill them out. A learning curve indeed. Income and Expense sections seemed to be going alright, then we get to the new bottom of the Expense page and WHAT?  This section was made to simplify the reporting of individual chapter reports onto the one I&E form but that was not to be. To the Council, it seemed simple to take the Grand Total Services from the Chapter Service Reports and type it into that area, add Intangibles above (what comes in, must go out, so these two numbers should be the same), then Other Services Rendered (a list of items bought or donated by members or other helpful people for a chapter service project-things that do not go through the chapter checkbook) but the confusion is what is the difference between Intangibles and Other Services Rendered? In reality, nothing, they are both the value of all things donated but not paid for by the chapter’s money! Service Hours and Mileage for doing Service Projects should speak for themselves but, can I claim things that I do on my own or is just for services done as a chapter? If it is done, and the recipient knows that you are doing it as service through your chapter, it can be either. For example, I donate blood to the Red Cross and they know that I do that as service through my SPG chapter, our members adopt ES/ARC clients at Christmas, this is a chapter service. Then,  I take parishioners to appointment and the store but that is done through my church-no double dipping. Ways & Means appeared simple enough.

Did I make it any clearer? Confuse you more? Do you think I’m beating a dead horse? Maybe, but it would make everyone’s job easier at Province time if the Council truly knew where you are struggling, not just being complacent, with filling out the year-end reports. Don’t just complain, send and email to your VIO or International officers and let us know how we can make it easier for all of us to make next year’s reporting go smoother. Less frustrations for ALL! Your Council really wants to make things simpler and help our membership!

SPG by Pat Drexler, International Service Secretary

I have been a member of Sigma Phi Gamma for 32 years.  I belonged to Eta Sigma Chapter for 27 years, then went off and started a new Chapter, Omicron Gamma.  This organization has always been a part of my life.  Both my aunts belonged and so did my mom.  I had been going to charity functions since I was a little girl, so I knew most of the women in Eta Sigma for a long time.

I am deeply passionate about this group of amazing women.  When I go to International Convention, I am awed at how everyone just acts like they have known each other forever, when, in fact, we just met each other on an elevator!

When we ask people join this wonderful organization, we never know where they are in their walk of life.  We recently brought in 3 new ladies to our Chapter.  It has been a joy to get to know each of them.  One of the new members recently sent me a card “thanking” us for asking her to join us.  The card made me cry.  You never know whose life you touch just by asking them to join a fantastic group of caring, giving, loving ladies.  I am “thankful” that she joined us and made our membership grow and added so much joy to our group.

Let us keep asking, you never know how much it will bring to all of you!

 

Pat Drexler

Omicron Gamma Chapter

 

 

 

What’s with the Weather! by Barbara Spreen

 

Oh, the weather outside is frightful but the sun yesterday was so delightful, and since we have no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  NOT!!! Well, odds are that this winter weather has affected you and your family, nearby or far-flung, with snow (lots of snow) or ice (worse than snow in my opinion) or just darn COLD temperatures. Stay inside and stay warm. If you or your family are affected by the loss of electricity, I pray that it comes back on quickly and that there are no ill effects or medical emergencies because of the loss of power.

As for me. . . well, a lot of you know me too well. I do not take staying home easily. I shoveled several times Monday and Tuesday. My neighbors did some snow blowing, which helped me a bit, but my alley is my main concern because it is not a straight shot out to the street. I live on what is called an “H” alley. Meaning there are two entrances off my street and the one behind me-at either end of the houses on the side streets, then they connect down the middle between my street and the one behind me. Alleys rarely get plowed, heck side streets rarely get plowed in the older downtown neighborhoods of Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live. My street (one block long) gets plowed from the main street on one side and a neighborhood street on the other only because there is a grade school across the street and the parents that drop off and pick up their children from school come down my street, turn left (it’s a one way) and then block the parking lot and street twice a day. So, all the cars that park on the one side of the street that they are allowed to park on get snowed in. When they shovel themselves out it all goes back onto the street, aaargh!!  But I digress, back to my alley. Since most cars park on the street, during the winter the TON of snow we get is just too much for newer cars with the low front bumpers to drive through.

Two weeks ago, we had a snowstorm. I thought I could make it to Sunday Mass, so off I went. I did make it… eventually, but first I got stuck in the snow in my alley… an angel backed into the alley, pulled me out, said have a good day and left. I know he was an angel, because where I was stuck, my white car was barely visible from the street. I made it safely home from Church that day, but parked in the school lot across the street for two days, instead of my garage off the alley, because I knew the city would plow the parking lot and I wouldn’t get stuck in my alley again.

This week’s snow was WAY worse! This time, I made arrangements to have the alley plowed. The plow came and did what he thought needed to be done. He told me someone had used their snowblower to do most of the alley, so he charged me less. GREAT!… not so great ☹. I turned right going out of my garage (as always) and noticed that that end of the alley wasn’t plowed, but the other way looked clear. So, I backed up into my garage and tuned left to leave, right into a snow bank I hadn’t noticed- stuck in the snow bank and couldn’t get out my driver’s side door because of the deep snow. I called my neighbor for help (thank goodness he was home), while waiting for him to come help, I decided to try getting out of the car on the passenger’s side. Picture me sitting on top of the console pulling my feet up between the steering wheel and shift knob and then sliding both feet across the dash to get out. During this effort my neighbor arrived and watched my escape, thank heavens he didn’t think to video me doing this! Then he dug my car out of the snow bank and I went on my way, later returning, mission accomplished!  I parked in the lot across the street when I got home, to avoid getting stuck again, as I had the snowstorm before. I called my plowing buddy and he came to finish clearing the rest of the alley and a bit more, just for good measure. Now the sun is shining, and all is right with my world.

Thanks to a plowed alley, I was able to get to a belated Delta Rho Chapter Birthday dinner and spend some socially distanced, time with my chapter sisters. There’s nothing better than sharing food, drink and fun with sorority sisters!!!

Aaaah, wintertime in the Midwest.  I cannot wait for March 20th and the beginning of Spring!!

COVID by Linda Bullington, International President

Has the Covid Pandemic got you down? Has your get up and go, got up and went? Do you feel overwhelmed, lonely, alone? Do you wonder where, you, went? Then read on.

Remember when you use to have fun, when you didn’t have to stop and think before you went somewhere or did something? You can find that fun again, reconnect with your friends- there’s lots of ways- Zoom, Facetime, Face Chat, even the telephone if you aren’t tech savvy.  Keep yourself busy, try to accomplish one task on your to do list each day, that achieves a goal which always feels good, then you can do whatever you want with the rest of that day (if you’re retired that is.)

Exercise helps, just go outside for a bit, fresh air is good for you- remember when you were a kid and your Mom said “go outside and blow the stink off!”?

Reading, or binge watching a new tv series, are other things to pass the days. Just try to incorporate something new into your routine, shake things up a bit, the change will do your good.

Community Service opportunities still exist, you just need to look for them a little harder, helping others always perks me up, give it try.

Change that makes you feel good is going in the right direction. Say yes to things that bring you joy and no, to things that don’t. It’s that easy, put yourself first. A happy you, is important, a happy you is healthy. A happy, healthy you will shine and you will feel like your old self again! Where you go from there is up to you! Take care. Stay healthy!

Hugs,

Linda

President’s Blog by Linda Bullington

Can you believe the pandemonium that occurred at our nations’ Capitol this month!?  I’m not a political advocate, but I have a party of choice and I do vote, so I’m mildly interested in our government. I believe in peaceful protest, but I don’t believe in rioting or destruction of property. If it’s your property and you want to damage or destroy it, that’s your right, but if it’s not solely owned by you, cause no harm.

Barricades mean don’t go past, tagging does not belong on buildings or vehicles, breaking windows, looting, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs have no place in our society. Physical violence is never warranted. The flag shouldn’t touch the ground. Voice your opinion, it is your right, but be mindful of your words, because once spoken, they cannot be unheard. Be kind, be considerate of others, think of the impact of your actions on others.

I prefer to move on from the recent pandemonium and look forward to Jan 20. I like the pomp and circumstance of our government as a new President is installed. There’s so much unknown- what will a new President mean for our country? I love seeing the Federal buildings in their glory- architecture always catches my eye. The past Presidents and their wives, the dignitaries, the whole event bringing hope with it.

It’s similar to our elections in sorority, sisters step forward to serve the membership, just as government officials step forward to serve our country. Sister officers aim to help carry SPG into the future, to continue the legacy of SPG our Life Founders set in place 100 years ago.

I wonder what our Life Founders would think of how long SPG had continued? At how much help we have given to our communities- monetary and hands on? At how many friendships have been kindled through belonging to our sorority? Sisters in their 20’s are friends with sisters in the 80’s, how often does that happen?

Members should be mindful that membership recruiting is the responsibilities of all. If you invite, they just may join in. If they say no thanks; that’s not for me; I don’t have the time; that’s ok, just keep inviting them to join in on the fun when you think they would enjoy the event. You never know when they will ask you if they can join.

If you aren’t yet  the friend of a member, check out our web site to learn more about SPG. If you like what you see, let us know and then be ready to gain friends!

 

“Karma” by Jill Pyclik, International Vice-President

I’m sure many of us have all heard the statement, “what goes around comes around” or “that’s karma for you!” Well today I had a bit of my own karma, let me explain.

I am a bit of a jokester and love to pick on my darling husband, Brad. So today as he took his 93-year-old mother who lives with us, to the doctors, I drove his new 2020 beautiful blue truck to work since he took my car. I gave him a hard time this morning because he told me on my way out the door, and I quote “take care of my baby!”

So, I told him, “I know you’re talking about me Brad, because I’m your baby not a truck!”

So off to work I go. Then, this afternoon I get into the truck to go to the base post office and there’s bird poop on the windshield. Naturally, I have a stupid comment about birds, poop and his truck!

I wash it down with windshield wiper fluid and everything is fine. Well, that’s what I thought!

However, when I get out to go in the post office, I realize that there’s bird poop all over the front of his truck. Not a little bit, one or two droppings, no, about five or six. What to do!!! LOL

So, I call my husband and I tell him, “You wouldn’t believe what happened to your truck!” And of course, he reacts the way he normally does, (freaks out) and goes “Oh my goodness, what happened to my truck?”

Here comes the jokester out of me…… I said to him, “Well there was bird poop on your windshield but I cleaned it, don’t worry about that.”

“However, you wouldn’t believe the amount of bird poop on the front of your truck!” (This is the part that I sent him pictures!!!!)  “Don’t worry about it it’ll be fine until I get home so you can wash it, Ha ha ha.” (He isn’t laughing!)

So, here’s the karma sisters……. I go to wash the bird poop off on base since we have our own car wash and as I’m rinsing and giggling and thinking I’m so funny, but being nice to my husband while I’m washing it, I switch the manual car wash to foam brush, because the poop has dried and won’t come off with just watering it off.

And as I stand there and wait for the foam brush and I hear it start to kick on and then all of the foam brush soap and water dump all over my head and shoulders and all over me! Apparently, I picked the only stall in our car wash that had a broken hose for just that dial.

So now I’m kind of wet and cold and look rather stupid.

But hey, the truck is clean and I’m on my way home to show him how pretty his truck is and how wet his wife is!

Now that’s karma sisters! Another saying……Mom said more than once to me, “You get what you deserve” Thanks Mom.

 

Jill Pyclik

International V.P.

The next 100 years by Pat Herweg, Treasurer for Eta Sigma, Omicron Province, Buffalo NY

I love being in sorority, it has given my life more meaning.  I have met so many wonderful, caring women over the past 11 years I have been a member.  We are truly sisters for each other.

To keep our sorority strong and vibrant we need to be able to add new members.  A 2020 woman has so many more responsibilities than the 1960 member had, most were at-home moms early on.  Now, it is very unique to find an at-home mom.  Our membership has dwindled; so many of our dear sisters are in the Zeta Chapter now.  We want to tell the world how wonderful it is to be a Sigma Phi Gamma Sister and how their busy lives can fit into our Sorority.

Our By-Laws need to reflect the 2021 society.  Having an International Meeting every year does not allow our younger sisters to attend; money and time need to be spent on family.  It is exhausting on the members and on the bank accounts not only of the individual members but also the Chapters.  Covid has taught us ways to assemble virtually and exchange ideas.  Let’s use the internet to our advantage.

We do not need to change officers every year.  Every 2 to 3 years give the officer a good handle on their office and ways to refine the position.

I understand the need for by-laws, our Sorority is 100 years old now; our by-laws need to be changed and amended to reflect Sigma Phi Gamma’s segway into the next 100 years.

 

January as seen by Linda Bullington

I came across this poem, but the concepts not mine, I’ve altered some sections so it fits me just fine,

Enjoy a good laugh, I hope it’s not you, but it fit me so well that I just had to share:

T’was the month after Christmas and all through the house, nothing would fit me not even a blouse!

The cookies I’d nibbled, the chocolates I’d tasted while stuck alone home, had gone straight to my waist!

When I got on the scales there arose such a number, I went for a walk, less a walk more a lumber…

I remembered the marvelous treats I’d prepared, the Cinnabons, potato casseroles and Prime Rib- perfectly rare,

The chocolate crinkle cookies and ginger ones too, and of course never said “No thank you, none for me this year”.

As I dressed in an old shirt, it was all that would fit, I prepared to do battle with weight once again!

I said to myself “ You can’t spend the winter in loose baggy clothes, cuz summer will soon be here  and  everything shows!

So away with last of the sour cream dip, get rid of the fruitcake, every cookie and chip!

Every last bit of food that I love, must be banished, till all the additional ounces have vanished!

I won’t have a cookie, not even a bite, I won’t have any Pepsi, candy or pie.

I’ll just munch on my carrot and quietly cry.

I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore, but isn’t that what January is for?

Unable to ignore it, I must start this goal, Happy New Year to all, and have a good diet!

It’s Winter! A Funny Story by Barbara Spreen, International Historian

This past Christmas a small windy, icy rain enveloped my region of Indiana. After Christmas morning Mass, my husband and I went to a local restaurant for breakfast. Latter that evening my husband, Bruce, went out to spread salt along our backyard sidewalk/patio area to make it safe to get to our garage in the morning. He came back in and told me that we needed more salt. Now, you may think, why tell me about the salt instead of him just going out to get some the next day himself. Well, that is not how things work at our house! Bruce went out to see if the tote on our front porch needed more salt also, he came back in, told me there was only a few cups of salt out front so we needed salt there too. He took off his coat and hat and proceeded to tell me what type to get, like I couldn’t look at the bag in the garage… anyway, I asked him if he had spread the salt on our front steps and sidewalk to make it safer for the postman. He looked at me and began putting his coat, hat and gloves back on and went to spread the remaining salt in the front tote, on our steps and sidewalk where he could. Coming back in, Bruce explained his entire process and why he did what he did. I thanked him and said he did a good job and that I would get the proper de-icing salt in the morning. He asked, showing me, if I could remember to keep the plastic shaker-bottle we had bought last time with salt to use again, as it makes it easier to spread the salt around. I said of course, and asked him to set it by the garbage can by our back door in our kitchen. The next day, I headed out & went to Lowe’s after my errands. I got three bags of petfriendly salt, since we let our cats out in the enclosed backyard. As I’m headed to the checkout, I see plastic shaker bottles of regular salt, so I grab one for use in our front yard thinking that I’m helping him streamline his de-icing work- two shaker bottles, one for each area of use, not knowing how confusing that would make things! When I got home, I told Bruce I had picked up the three bags of pet-friendly salt and another shaker bottle of regular salt for use in the front yard so that he has one at each door to spread and then there will be no need to carry things back and forth between the two places. Here’s where it gets complicated… I mention that since the front tote is empty, he should take the opened bag of regular salt still in the garage, to the front, but first, empty the shaker bottle of old salt into the bag, then fill that bottle with the pet-friendly salt for use in the backyard, and to bring the open bag of regular salt and the new shaker bottle to the front porch. Sounds pretty simple, right?! Well, we had at least a 10-minute conversation of him asking me what I wanted and then he went to do his thing with the salt bags and shakers. Bruce brings the old shaker in with the old salt and places it by our front door and then goes to get the old salt bag and pours it into the front tote. I ask where the new shaker bottle is and he replies in the kitchen by the back door. I remind him that he needs to empty the old shaker bottle into the tote on the front porch, move the new shaker bottle to the front door and then go fill the old shaker bottle with the pet-friendly salt and place it in our kitchen by the back door. Really, was it that hard?! Finally, things are as they should be, but Bruce and I both a bit frustrated by our communication/understanding skills-well me for sure anyway! Bruce just went downstairs to have a cigarette, warm up and watch TV. Moral for the New Year—what you think you said… may not be what they hear! What you think you hear… may not be what they intended you to hear, keep this in mind when your conversations with friends and family seem a little frustrating. Be kind, and remember, patience is a virtue! We all see things from our perspective but need to also see things from the other person’s point of view as well. Remember, Teamwork makes the Dream work! Happy New Year to All!!

New Year’s Resolutions by Pat Drexler, International Service Secretary

New Year’s Resolutions

Every year, people strive to make a New Year’s Resolution.  Why? I ask myself.  Within a few weeks, we will break those resolutions.  Therefore, I would like to make a resolution for everyone.

JUST BE KIND!

I think this is something everyone should work hard to do every day.  Do something for someone to make them smile.  Help someone with a task to ease their load for a bit.  Open a door for someone, just because.  There are endless possibilities.

I have worked in my position at school for 20 years.  I work with kindergarten through second grade.  I have worked with some amazing teachers.  I have also worked with many other aides.  This year, I am working with two of the most caring, wonderfully funny, and extremely helpful aides.  I have never enjoyed going into work so much.  They make me laugh every day.  In these times of mass chaos, I find that so comforting.  I tell them all the time how wonderful they are and how grateful I am to work with them.  They are just KIND people. I know that if I am as KIND and caring to others as they are, I can make someone else feel the way I do when I am around them.

So, this year, just be KIND.  It is just the right thing to do.  Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy New Year to all.

Hugs,

Pat Drexler

International Service Secretary

 

 

 

Sister to Sister…..