The kindness of strangers helps disabled Memphis woman

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - Patti Shipp is a disabled Memphis woman who each month must choose between paying her rent and her utility bill. Unable to pay the $1200 she owed to MLGW, her power was cut off.

Shipp lost her left leg and right foot from hereditary diabetes, and her disability leaves her unable to work. Her disability check is not enough to cover both her rent and utilities.

But Shipp's electicity was restored at 10:00 p.m. Monday night after Durwood McCormick of Olive Branch personally went to MLGW to pay her entire bill, plus enough to cover her through the cold winter months.

"God has opened up his heavenly windows and his blessings are being poured out on me," said Shipp.

After Action News 5 aired Shipp's story on Monday night, dozens of good samaritans called and e-mailed to ask how they could help her.

"I said 'Thank God, I see the light!,'" said Shipp. "I was praising the Lord and crying, you know...thanking the Lord!"

The light came back on. However, her heater still didn't.

"I was up under the covers shaking still. And your cameraman gave me this blanket here, so that helped keep me warm last night."
After Shipp's story aired, Mayor A.C. Wharton's office also called to help find a permanent solution.
Wharton's office, along with Rev. Keith Norman of First Baptist Church on Broad Street, are working to find Shipp a place she can afford to live with her $650 a month disability check.
While First Baptist searches for a new home for Shipp, and her landlord works to fix her heater, Gary Oliver of Hernando brought over a large space heater to make sure she keeps warm.
Shipp says she's overwhelmed with gratitude.

"I want to say thank y'all, and may God bless y'all and keep y'all a long time."

To help people like Shipp pay their utility bills, you can contribute to MLGW's Plus 1 Program. All funds go directly to MIFA's Emergency Assistance Program.

To add $1 or more to your monthly utility bill, call (901) 544-MLGW or click here.

to e-mail Lori Brown.