People in Crisis (PICI) is a national 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization dedicated to serving all people, regardless of background, who have severe medical and living expenses. We have striven to live up to this mission for 17 years, but just how was PICI founded? The answer lies in a man we will refer to as “Thomas.”
Thomas grew up in a very working-class neighborhood in the 1960s outside of Philadelphia under an abusive mother and a very timid father. His mother worked in adult entertainment for self-gratification, and manipulated Thomas and his father in the process. She also suffered from pyromania (a psychological impulse which renders one unable to resist starting fires). Thomas grew up confined to a room with no heat, being very frequently subjected to her physical and emotional torture. The room featured green cracked walls, which PICI’s founder describes as a “dungeon.” It had a small table replacing a bed, and a bucket for Thomas to relieve himself. While Thomas was very close to his father, the father was unable to stand up for himself and his son. While considering abandoning the family, the father passed away under highly suspicious circumstances under his mother’s auspices.
Because of his traumatic upbringing, Thomas understood the suffering in others and always wanted to help all people in need. He would often spend much time in shopping malls, signing his name in booklets to receive discount offers and promotions, so the workers who would sit outside stores advertising them wouldn’t lose their jobs.
On a daily basis, during his breaks from work, Thomas drove to to a mall to help employees there who performed survey work, and were paid by commission. These employees desperately needed their salaries to support themselves and their families. Thomas wanted to help them answering survey questions, and one day met Lana Samuels, PICI’s founder and co-president, while she was performing survey work.
In 1989 or 1990, when Lana was stocking supermarket shelves, she slipped on a wet floor in a dark room, and severely injured herself. While Lana had insurmountable medical and living expenses, a severely-ill Thomas (unbeknownst to Lana) provided her with every penny he had to support her, which she credits to saving her life. A few years later, Thomas himself suffered from several medical emergencies by which he was unable to support himself. Due to the stresses of living under extreme abuse and poverty, Thomas developed postprandial hypoglycemia, severe allergic reactions to many foods, and became extremely reclusive, interacting with only Lana.
As a result of Thomas’s condition, and being thankful to him for saving her life, Lana became inspired and founded PICI, which dedicates time and resources to advocating for those with high medical and living expenses, such as those experiencing homelessness, people unable to afford prescription drugs, apartment tenants and motel renters being unable to afford rent, veterans who were not aware of hidden benefits they were eligible for, and others facing dire circumstances.
In order to raise funds for PICI, Lana has for nearly two decades knocked on doors in order to support and sustain the people we help. But with the recent outbreak of COVID-19, Lana has been unable to do so and is thus relying on an online fundraising campaign to support the organization. Currently, Thomas and others we support and advocate for will soon be facing eviction, and are in dire need of emergency funds.
Because People in Crisis is 100% volunteer and has so little funds, we often struggle each day in being able to perform our mission to advocate for those with high medical and living expenses.
This means that more of the people we serve currently and in the future have the potential to:
- Become homeless after being unable to afford rent
- Go into diabetic shock for being unable to pay for insulin
- Pass away, unaware of potential veterans benefits they didn’t know they had
- Suffer from the effects of severe poverty due to wage theft and abuse from employers
- Run out of oxygen after their tank shut off because they were unable to afford to pay the electric bill to power it
In this dire and chaotic time, please make a generous one-time or monthly contribution to PICI. Your support is graciously appreciated.
Because their lives depend on it.
Latest News and Articles
- PICI Outreach Story: “Sarah Reynolds”Sarah Reynolds resides in Somers Point, NJ. As an elderly individual with Stage 4 COPD, she requires an oxygen tank to breathe. When Ms. Reynolds and her son were about to be evicted because of their inability to afford to pay back rent, PICI successfully negotiated a payment plan with their landlord. When the Reynolds’… Read More »PICI Outreach Story: “Sarah Reynolds”
- Wake Up With WURDWURD Radio · Wake Up With WURD 9.25.17 – Aaron Snyder and Bernice Panky
- PICI Outreach Story: “Thomas”Above all else, the story of Thomas is the reason why PICI exists today. PICI Founder and Co-President Lana Samuels frequently refers to Thomas as “The man who saved my life.” You can read more about Thomas through clicking on our homepage. Thomas currently resides in Yuma, AZ, and often faces severe difficulty in affording… Read More »PICI Outreach Story: “Thomas”
- PICI Outreach Story: Aaron TolliverAaron Tolliver and his wife Taunee live in Somers Point, NJ. As a diabetic with kidney failure, Aaron regularly requires insulin and routine medical care. As his eyesight is gradually decreasing into blindness, PICI has helped Aaron find the Preferred Preference Program, which allows his wife to be paid as his home healthcare aid. In… Read More »PICI Outreach Story: Aaron Tolliver
- PICI Outreach Story: John PowersMr. Powers was originally homeless in Northfield, NJ, living under very poor conditions. But after numerous interactions with local government officials and houses of worship, PICI has successfully advocated for Mr. Powers to receive Social Security Income (SSI) from years back which he did not realize that he is eligible for. Now, Mr. Powers has… Read More »PICI Outreach Story: John Powers
- PICI Outreach Story: “Michael”Michael currently resides in assisted living in Oakland Park, FL. Originally from Southern New Jersey, Michael arrived in Florida with the invitation to stay with his daughter, but she ultimately refused to see him. As a result, Michael has resided in several assisted-living facilities. PICI has on numerous occasions advocated for Michael in getting clothes… Read More »PICI Outreach Story: “Michael”