Menefield, once arrested for failure to pay trash bill, gifted new A/C, $2,500

Published 8:00 am Saturday, September 23, 2023

A surprise was waiting for 82-year-old Martha Menefield of Valley when the Dream Machine and their partners pulled up to give her a new air conditioning unit and a check for $2,500 on Thursday.

“I’ve only seen this on TV,” Menefield said.

In December 2022, Menefield was arrested for failure to pay a $77 trash bill to the city of Valley. Since then, her story has reached a national audience.

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“Although I know they were just doing their jobs, I know they were. But I asked them, ‘Do you have to handcuff me?’ And he said, ‘Yes, Ms. Martha,’” Menefield said of the incident. “It was the way he said it hurt my feelings.”

The Dream Machine, Kasasa and the First Bank of Alabama partnered to have central air conditioning and heating installed at Menefield’s house. The First Bank of Alabama also presented her with a check for $2,500.

The Dream Machine Foundation, a nonprofit charity organization founded by Charlie “Rocket” Jabaley, is on a national tour funded by Kasasa to help those in need. Menefield was added to the tour after CFO Langford Hutcherson and Houston Rapper Trae the Truth visited her in August.

Trae and his charity, Gang Relief, partnered with Bel Furniture to get Menefield all new furniture.

While there, they discovered that her home had no central air conditioning or heating, had a leaky roof and flooded when it rained.

Since Hutcherson met her, the Dream Machine has raised $18,564 for Menefield’s home. The HVAC unit funded by the First Bank of Alabama, Kasasa and Dream Machine will be installed next week.

“Everybody’s just been so kind to me,” Menefield said. “… I appreciate everybody.”

The Dream Machine also got an estimate from a contractor for the grading and drainage repairs it would take to stop the house from leaking. The repairs will cost $35,000, according to Jabaley. They plan to relaunch a fundraiser to have the costs met.

“I just hope Ms. Martha doesn’t experience any pain or experience any worries,” Jabaley said. “You know, when it rains, that’s a worry. When it’s cold, that’s a worry.”

Menefield said she feels safe in her home and her neighborhood.

“I’m comfortable here. I wouldn’t want to leave,” she said. “This is my home.”

First Bank of Alabama Vice President Brandon Freeman said the choice to donate the check was an easy one.

“It’s what community banks do is helping others in the community and getting involved and giving back wherever we have the opportunity,” Freeman said.

Kasasa Founder Gabe Krajicek said the Dream Machine’s mission to “make dreams come true” for those in need aligns with Kasasa’s values.

“To me, this is all a big metaphor for the good that community financial institutions do …,” Krajicek said. “The real good that’s happening is coming from people that are in their communities and love their communities.”

The Dream Machine’s national tour will continue to visit people across the country to help meet needs.

“We don’t know who we’re going to meet. We don’t know what’s gonna happen, but we know we’re sent to the right place at the right time,” Jabaley said. “And we’re going to do everything we can to help them.”

“This is what allowed us to go meet with Miss Martha in person and help other people make their dreams come true,” Jabaley said. “So I just want to give a big thank you to Kasasa because without them we would not be able to be doing this right there.”