Need is up 50%. Donations are down 50%. I have a budget of 5000 dollars for the whole year to buy food. Many years, we never touch that budget because donations are sufficient to meet need. Not this year. It has become such a struggle to keep food on our shelves, more than ever.
It's getting scary, but we keep thinking of creative new fundraising ideas. I've been lucky and blessed...several people have just walked in off the street and given monetary donations equaling about $450 which they designate specifically for food rather than for all programs. That is money above the budget line which is pretty cool.
Also, a Festival just offered us leftover sandwiches. They are willing to write me a letter stating the date of food prep and the event. This allows me to freeze the food and distribute it! Local backyard farmers have been "planting a row" for us, too. We get to give away fresh vegetables and fruit when we have them!
Part of what's hurting people is the unprecedented winter...long and really cold for here. People had to use power to heat their homes that they don't usually have to use in south Louisiana. Now that the weather is temperate and Spring-like, they ARE using less electricity, but the electric companies have jacked up the fuel costs. So, people on fixed incomes whose usage equals $200 have received fuel costs of $300, giving them $500 electric bills. How do they expect people to do that?!
No wonder they're hungry.
It's a worrisome time that stretches your faith, but that's what grows us. My faith remains strong as ever. I know that this is a challenge and we will make it through and finish strong! If you have great new ideas for getting food on the shelves, please leave them here. Just maybe you'll have part of a solution that could make real differences in the lives of those who are struggling.
Sometimes people will inspire you in the most unexpected ways. One of my clients is a single dad who is working so hard to do right by his son, even in light of genuine adversity and a substantial injury. I've never met a more genuine person, grateful and humble.
Today he said these words:
"It's like I'm holding my son, keeping his head above the water and someone has grabbed him but it's too late for me. But I'm good with that."
He meant the, "I'm good with that." We were going to help him get a new door for his truck so that his son can ride in it. It's $50 from the junkyard and he'd already put $20 down on it. When he called and asked how the Center could make out the check for $30, the man told him not to worry about it.
We were able to help in a couple of small ways and he hugged us in thanks, so tightly. I think most of all, he felt encouraged and less alone. That is enough to carry me for a long, long time. It's emotional to look back at the exchange. He brought in documents and welcomed any phone calls we needed to make for discernment. Nothing was hidden...that's special when people are nervous or feeling shameful, or any of a number of complex emotions about asking for help.
Not many things touch me more than a man whose heart is good, who recognizes mercies and grace in his life, a man who begins to cry but pulls it back so that he doesn't fall apart while he's sincerely thanking someone. I love seeing those chinks in men, in the armor they're taught for a lifetime that they must maintain, even as I look respectfully away so that they can compose themselves.
Sometimes it can be so tough to be a man. I can't begin to imagine. When you are good men, you shine so brightly and you matter so much, even when you can't see that yourself. You are beautiful to us. God bless you.
Good stuff. Inspiration was mutual.
...and to be able to recognize these traits in men says no less for the women.
Thank you, I have a friend who I am going to pass this on to as right now- life is being very challenging to him, and he needs to understand what I mean when I say he matters. Perhaps seeing the words from another will assist him in appreciating what he represents to me.
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