Changing a little piece of her story, together.
by Ellen Carlson, Executive Director
A few weeks back, I was working in the office and heard giggling coming from the front lobby. My feet followed. There she was, a young girl probably no more than 6, reading a book and laughing at the animals on the pages while her mom talked with a volunteer at our front desk about making an appointment to meet with a Case Manager.
This little girl was facing homelessness, yet at that moment the only thing she knew was that the squirrel flying the airplane in the book was really funny. I saw her mom give her a loving look.
I can’t imagine what the mother had already been through to bring her here. I don’t know what she was thinking, but I can guess she was scared. I can surmise that as a mom, she would do anything to keep her little girl safe. As a mother of two myself, I silently hoped that she would feel even a little piece of her anxiety melt away.
The two left the office and walked over to the Food Pantry. They left with meat, dairy, vegetables and other food staples, and they left with hope for housing stability.
Together, side by side, our community became a bit better of a place in that moment, because so many good things came together - the mom’s bravery in coming to MOM, your financial gifts that provided funding for our Case Management team and eviction prevention funds, and your acts of service that put the food on the food pantry shelves, just to name a few.
I’m humbled to be part of a community of people that believes that all of their neighbors deserve stable housing and food security. I’m grateful that together, we might change a little piece of the little girl’s story. I’m appreciative of the opportunity to provide a place that treats everyone with the dignity they deserve, no matter their circumstance.
In 2018, MOM’s Food Pantry had over 50,000 visits, offering a variety of healthy options and distributing nearly 1.4 million pounds of food. Case Managers met with thousands of families and individuals, providing a listening ear, financial assistance, and connections to community services. The Clothing Center distributed over 100,000 pounds of clothing so that no one had to worry about what they might wear for their job interview or whether their child would have a warm coat. Over 200 seniors received rides or help with chores, allowing for stability in their homes. What we eat, where we live and our connection to our community are key determinants to overall well-being and health, so we focus on providing ample access to these resources.
To me, there is nothing more important than using our lives and our voices to do what we can to create an equitable community. There is nothing better we can do than to act.
In 2019, we will focus on collaboration, because we cannot create change alone. We must work together to make the greatest impact. We will also focus on inclusion, because we are strongest when we invite in all and break down barriers for participation. We will continue to look at problems creatively and utilize data and research to inform best practices in our work.
You not just welcome to join us, you are an integral part of our mission. Together, we are all making a difference. I thank you for your willingness to remain open to new opportunities and new possibilities. A community where everyone has the stability to thrive is a beautiful vision to work towards, is it not?
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