Many Thanks for Community Safety Nets

I never thought I would experience many incredible things in my life.  Like trekking desert Southwest canyons, hearing canyon wrens on a river raft, hiking animal paths along the Owyhee Reservoir, kayaking down its waters, sea kayaking Puget Sound, hiking Mt. Fuji and bamboo forests in Japan, lava flows from Hawaiian volcanos, or performing piano in front of huge audiences, all many years ago.

I also never thought I would be a single parent for 11 years, experience domestic violence court, have a child who survived cancer who is also wiser and more competent than the tree from which she fell, or need to be on the receiving end of community safety nets for people in poverty, despite having a college degree and working a minimum of full-time through it all.

Someone asked in a professional forum recently, “What are you truly thankful for?” and I have to say my community’s resources are models I would like to see replicated everywhere in the country.  I want to highlight some that have touched my life and my child’s to give thanks.

Do you know a group of caring women got together and started a system that puts healthful snacks and sandwiches in refrigerators at various restaurants, cafes, and every school so that a child/teen who needs food can pick it up any time, no questions asked?  How amazing is that?

Good Cheer Food Bank and Good Cheer Garden are the best systems I have seen to transform a community’s used items and clothing into food for those who need it.  The quality I appreciate the most about these efforts is the aura of dignity that surrounds it all.  Instead of shame, one feels welcomed and empowered during tough times.  Some of the garden’s bounty will make it to my family table this Thanksgiving, as I contribute a “Carolina kale” recipe with kale and collard greens.  Many thanks.

The HUB is thankfully reopened after a year of closure, just in time for my own child to benefit.  It is a place to do homework, to chat with friends, to play games, watch a video, partake in after school nutrition while parents work.

Family Resource Center has hosted parenting classes, support groups, holiday house, and school supply programs for families.  I hope more people learn of all they offer and check it out.

Someday I intend to be on the giving end again, but for now I offer my sincere thanks.

About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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