Monday, November 19, 2007

In the struggle, Food Pantries Face Shortages & So Do We.

What we're seeing is being echoed all across the country. Food pantries are not receiving as many donations while demand is increasing. What does this mean?

  • It means the homeless woman who's living in my office right now is in danger of doing without again. She's a diabetic.
  • It means the victim of domestic violence who left her abuser last week but can't feed her kids may have to go back.
  • And it means the father of two adorable daughters aged 2 & 3 will have to feed them crackers and peanut butter - again - because he can't make ends meet. He came in two weeks ago to see if we had coats for the daughters.
  • Then, there's the pizza delivery driver who's husband has been out of work for a few months. They have a 7 year old who believes Santa will bring them toys and food. Who will be his Santa?
In the past two weeks we've helped 3 victims of domestic violence, one homeless couple, three families with clothing, worked with 3 juvenile offenders, 1 adult offender who's changing his life, and given several food boxes through partnerships with local churches. Plus, we distributed Angel Food boxes, answered phone calls and made referrals to other agencies so clients can get help with services we don't provide.

Our clients struggle and we struggle to help them. Bills (ours and theirs) still have to be paid. The lights have to stay on and the phones connected. Somehow we make it and we are grateful.

Many people are surprised to find that most of our donors give less than $10 at a time. Some people have no money but they save aluminum cans, ink jet cartridges and used cell phones for us or donate something for our Mission Fish site. It all adds up! We are thankful for all gifts no matter how small or how large.

How important is what we do?

In addition to our work online we are the only social service agency that serves all of Strawberry Plains, TN - a small rural community divided between the counties of Knox, Jefferson and Sevier. Many of clients walk or have cars that just barely run. There is no bus service. Before we opened the nearest help center was 22 miles away (RT) for Jefferson County residents and 23 miles (RT) for some of our Knox County clients.

Over half of the kids attending Rush Strong School (our next door neighbor) are on free or reduced lunch. Many of these kids eat at school but not at home. Three miles away in Knox County almost half of the students at Carter Elementary School are on free or reduced lunch.

That's a lot of need. Please consider making a small gift to Hope for Healing.Org this holiday season, use the free Yahoo powered Goodsearch.Com or check our eBay site for holiday auctions.

Together, we are making a difference.

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