To the lady from this site who just sent in a donation to the Center that was very generous. I may have to rename this section of my journal "Thank You VR!"
I had a meeting with my staff today and they expressed their frustration with my being out of the office so much. They said the volunteers miss me and they miss me. I've been canvassing the community in what probably wasn't the most organized fashion, just going into businesses with a packet of information about who we are, shaking hands, and asking about their process for helping organizations.
The staff wants me to be here at the beginning of each shift every day. I love them so much and I miss them, too. I am going to try, but I don't know that they understand how important this $60,000 challenge is. It will affect personnel way before it affects program. I have 12 employees on staff for the two buildings, the Center with the food bank and intake for clients, and our thrift store that meets overhead expenses, serves as low-cost shopping for the working poor, and as a closet where we can give away clothing and household items with vouchers.
Most of my staff are part time. I am the only salaried person, and only one coordinator is full time. Two half time ladies now share my old job, Program Coordinator - Assessment. I have a couple of 30 hour employees and all the rest are 20 hours or less. The weekend sorter typically makes under 6 hours. It's a lot of people to care about in addition to clients on such a careful budget.
I'm worrying about the dinner next Saturday. I need prizes, potato salad and cakes. I thought the community would fall over themselves to help us. That hasn't been the case. Sadly, nobody even says a firm, "NO." Instead, they say things like, "I'll talk to the corporate office. Check back." I go back and they say, "No word yet." Each time I check in, I feel like an annoyance to them. I'm pretty sure the owner of a bike shop avoided me, ducking in the back. He's someone I've known for years. I bought a competition bike from him, take my bike to him for maintenance, and have done tours and triathlons with him. It's discouraging that the first time I ask for a contribution, he feels he has to duck me. Why not just stand up and say, "Wish I could, but I'm strapped right now?"
I know that all will be well and everything will pan out because of the hard work, but I still find myself feeling fragmented and being needed in 4 places at once. I'm going to try to schedule my time even more carefully to meet the desire of my staff and volunteers that I be more present in-house, my board's challenge to raise money, get our name out into the world, and attend local meetings and speaking engagements I am asked to give to schools, churches, and organizations.
Tomorrow I will turn in my first-ever grant. I wrote for a $10,000 grant for the Center. It was unfamiliar, but not as difficult as I'd been told. I have another grant due a week after. I chose these because even though they require accountability, which we can more than show by our records, they do not micro manage the way an organization's programs work. Government grants turn agencies often into cookie cutter programs where everyone gets the same thing and discernment is tossed out the window.
One of the things that drew me to this Center is the individual assessment and the real desire to lead people toward self-sufficiency. This Center does not carry anyone forever. We talk to clients about having a plan. If they don't have one in place, we keep working with them until they do. If they aren't capable of making a plan, we refer them to agencies who serve people with special needs.
This has been a long entry and I apologize. It was more for myself than anyone else. I find myself feeling very small when I look at all that is expected of me. I ask myself, "Am I capable of coming through for everyone or have I taken on more than I can deliver?" I'm leaning on my faith because this is so much bigger than one woman who loves this ministry with all her heart. I am praying for the right people to be in my path and the right opportunities. I also recognize just how much of a blessing it is to have people believe in me and support me along the way, because ultimately, it isn't about me. It is about what is important above who I am.
..ain't it "nice" that some people care?
..ain't it good that some people are, good?
..ain't it cool, there are people that are a catalyst for others actions?
..I'm pleased you're here.
you need to be cloned..lol
Just show them the way.. can not do it all... no matter how wonderful you are. You have to keep some of your energy for yourself or you will not be able to help anyone. :)
We will work together to make that $60,000 target a reality. Everything will work out even if it seems hard right now.
I'm speechless! The Center got the most amazing press today. We had an open house last week to recruit new volunteers and remind the community of who we are and what we do. My board charged me with raising funds and awareness and it is happening. The journalist asked me a few questions about our mission and he included so much more than just the open house, focusing on our dynamic new website as well.
I could never do this alone. There are so many people who help make the Center so special. Every fingerprint is special and unique. My beautiful friend, STABB, offered one day to design a web page for us. I can't begin to tell you how dreadful the old one was. He has put in his own time to make it into my dream for what the Center needed, a dynamic way to let people about us and what we need. We now have a paypal button where people from anywhere in the world can contribute. I just shared the article with him online and he's made his own journal entry. Go see! English Gentleman?
When Katrina hit us, she hit us hard. We had to tear down walls and rebuild everything. We couldn't find contractors, so staff and volunteers had to pitch in. We're mostly retirees and ladies. I learned how to use power tools and break concrete with a maul. We all asked, "why?" back then, and now I think I have my answer. We cried, trusted, persevered, and kept our faith. In short, we grew.
I learned that there are no small gifts. Silverbow and her children are knitting hats for cold people who call a bridge home. A businessman pledges $500 per quarter, then his partner asks him to make it monthly. My friends offer their talents with photoshop to help me take fliers to businesses and individuals. STABB codes a website and sends a case of gloves. A father takes his kids shopping for gloves and warm clothes and posts them to us. Irony suggests a "bad poetry" competition as a fund raiser, a fun competition she's done for a few years. Several members asked for the Center's address so they could send financial contributions.
And all because I wrote about cold people under a bridge. I nearly made that entry private. I never asked for any of the blessings that have come. Each one was offered by the individual as "the least I can do." But look at what it has added to. Little gifts of the heart matter. They always have and they still do. Thank you all for being a part of what I love so much. Thank you for sharing that love and making it bigger than I ever could have imagined.
Once again, I have been amazed by the generosity of the members of this site. I have already written about donations by parents, children, and individuals. One family has already written on their calendar that next September we'll be launching "HUGS," a drive to help the homeless and underprivileged with Hats, Underwear, Gloves, and Socks. Love the mnemonic because it not only helps you remember what to donate, but represents what you really are doing, giving someone down and out a hug that says, "I care about your needs."
I learned today that one of our VR members has sent the Center a check for $500 and a pledge to match that quarterly! Another gentleman learned about us from a regular member here and he's going to see if his work will match monthly donations he's going to make.
I knew a man once who was an outstanding member of my community here in the Northshore area of Greater New Orleans. He was an athlete who helped others, always willing to give of his time to anyone who needed it. He was a cheerful giver. He developed Lou Gehrig's disease and the triathlete body he'd always known began to deteriorate while his mind remained sharp. His community embraced him and his family, heaping blessings upon them, organizing schedules to make sure chores like lawn-mowing and honey-dos were done. He was overwhelmed by the love he received.
Shortly before he passed, he sent an email out to us that I will never forget. It expressed his awe and humility in the people who stepped forward to take up the yoke that did not belong to them. He let us know that he was comforted in knowing that his wife and child would be well cared for in his absence. But it was his closing line that stays with me still. "I wish you could see how beautiful you all look to me."
I could never recall that line without feeling my throat close up and my eyes filling. Today, I feel them more intensely than before because I know exactly what he meant. You have helped people you haven't even seen. You have overwhelmed me by your encouragement and confidence in me. You took up a yoke that didn't belong to you and you pulled. You pulled together and are making a difference.
I honestly wish you could see how beautiful you all look to me.
This really made my day. :) It's things like this that help re-enforce and repair my faith in the ability of humanity to do great things...
..doing the little I do, on a Thursday, I wanted to just wish you well & any and all, who choose to aid you!
Yay! Joli have I told you how amazing I think you are?
That's awesome news.
Hopefully many of these folks can get a start at a new life with a brighter future.
W00T! Ashley and James are dancing in circles singing..hehe. What a treasured moment, Thanks Jo.
I will tell Iae and lex as soon as they wake up in the morning. They will be very happy to hear this!!!
This is the best news I have heard in awhile. You are truly a remarkable person.
Are there odd things that you are drawn to? My friend loves rocks. All rocks. You pick a rock for her and she will find beauty and wonder in the story it has to tell. What is that thing that never gets old for you, drawing your eye and your imagination?
For me, it's hinges. I love hinges. Especially old hinges, perhaps still attached to bits of its former life, or maybe just pulled from an old tool case or pile of rusting metal.
Like Irony and her rocks, I search for the story. I want to know about the first hinge and what useful function it served. I want to know the story of the more modern hinges, often holding them up to the light and turning them over and over in my hands. There are so many differently shaped hinges, some are incredibly simple like a cotter pin or a snipe hinge,
but some are as elaborate as jewelry.
Handmade hinges are a real treasure. Look how beautifully crafted these wooden hinges are.
I even like the jewelry I wear to have hinges. I own 2 poison rings, a score of lockets, and a prayer box. The idea of being able to choose to close off or open up is appealing to me, wondering what's behind that closed thing and if I will be granted access. It's an incredibly useful part of our daily lives, the hinge. From your front door to the polished keys of a modern flute, the hinge makes life a little better, safer, and more precise.
Here is an old piece from my journal that celebrates the amazing hinge:
Crito is dead. I have repaid the cock to Asclepius, Socrates. I did not forget.
00:21:33 - Nov 03 2006
ODE TO THE INVENTOR OF THE HINGE
You revolutionized architecture and the shape of your world. Did you love your wife? Was your door made of stone, too heavy for her, leaving her vulnerable if she needed to run inside quickly to escape harm? Or was the lid to the larder impossible for her to manage?
Were you a visionary or a simple, pragmatic man? I could kiss you as I marvel at the smooth ballet...spring, pivot, swivel, swing...of my poison ring.
Even now, you revolutionize the architecture and shape of my world.
I am really excited to be able to write this entry. For a number of years, Irony has hosted a BAD POETRY contest called "Gothic Cheese." Entrants compete for the worst poem! It has been a lot of fun for everyone (with the possible exception of the poor judges.)
Well, this year, she has decided to really step it up. We will be looking for sponsors, prizes, and PR. The proceeds will go to charity, and she's named the center where I work as this year's charity! Each year the theme will change. This year it is "A Single Tear."
We will be posting the details soon, but for now, we need you! This is a charitable event and we want it to be a success. We need some great ideas for a logo. The logo should be your artistic depiction of "Gothic Cheese." Keep in mind that this logo should be versatile enough to be used on T-shirts, mugs, fliers, and other promotional items.The size should be a 500x500 pixel resolution and needs to include the name and theme legibly written: Gothic Cheese 2008: A Single Tear
We aren't really sponsoring a contest. This would be for the honor of having your design chosen. We will have a website and you will be acknowledged as the artist. It will also serve as a contribution to helping a good cause.
I know there are some amazing artists here on VR with big hearts. Please submit entries to: email@example.com
It's been so warm the last week that there has been no need to distribute the warm garments yet. I want to wait until it's cold because the homeless have to carry around with them everything they own. I won't encumber them while it's warm. I am keeping an eye on the weather and the moment it dips, I promise that your gifts will bless people.
I am in SO much better of a position to help now. Before, we had an emergency and no supplies. Now, I have supplies and am ready for a freeze. We were even able to buy a few tents from WalMart for $17 and no sales tax!
In the event that the weather stays warm, and let's hope that it does, I have an offsite storage that was donated...and it's climate controlled!!! We can store non perishable food there and the warm garments, readying for the next freeze. And everything will stay nice!
Oh, I nearly forgot...a lady who runs a quilting ministry for the Pregnancy Center said she got a huge donation of flannel fabric. Her ladies are going to serge 4x6 blankets for me to store and distribute as needed!! Also, another lady found a sale at Target...2 pairs of mittens for .39. She spent under $6 and I have a full bag of mittens! I just can't get over how amazing this is. How amazing all of you are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And from a member here who took her children shopping for warm things, I found a heart-warming message in my inbox today. I am sharing here an excerpt that has my eyes leaking down my cheeks. I love the way you are raising your children. "And you know those little eyes are on the look out for 'deals' on hat and glove combo's. _______ was so funny, he kept telling the lady at the store, 'you have to be carefull with those please.. they are for our special friends who are cold and need them, it's an emergency.'
You make me hopeful for our tomorrows.
Kahlil Gibran said of children: "their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow...You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;For even as He loves the arrrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
That is so wonderful! The offsite storage is going to be such a boost to your efforts as well:) I am really pleased:))
Without you, your heart and soul, and your talents, these gifts and donations would never make it to those who need them most.
..we gave out coats, last week and this ..and I was so pleased when they'd be well-recieved. And it's pleasing, the lad's are clearing up in front of the church now "for you ****!" of course.
"Hope everything is going well. I wanted to thank you again for the opportunity to go with you to deliver the hats and gloves. It's not the normal thing that I would want to do, but as usual you unknowingly challenge me and draw me out of my comfort zone. For that I say thank you.
Take care and I will get in touch with you when I get back to town.
My best friend. And he reminds me...Wednesday I will be heading back to New Orleans, weather permitting, to deliver all the new gloves and socks and wonderful things you have sent. Thank you all again for keeping this effort alive! Thank YOU, Mickey. You are my dearest heart.
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