It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This last year has been one of the most difficult ones for many of us but especially for the poor and housing insecure. In our thirty-one years of serving our community, we had never experienced a time when more people reached out to us in desperate need of help. It’s been a challenge, but we’ve found ways to not only persevere but grow, adapt, and expand our programs and services. It has been the worst of times, but at the same time, the good, the light, and the kindness swelled to match the need.
One mom called us to tell us that her eight-year-old boy, Nixon, made a list of things he wanted to do to help people during this pandemic. She said they lived near our main shelter, had donated in the past, and that Nixon had made a blanket for a child in our Transitional Housing program. She asked, “Would it be OK for her and Nixon to come by and present the blanket to us?” And we said, “Nothing would make us happier than to meet Nixon and see him give one of “our kids” the blanket that he made as a token of kindness.”
We received a call from a mom who said her children were on spring break, and she wondered if there was anything they could do to help the families and students in our programs. We had a nice chat about how we currently have over 20 children in our Transitional Housing program and 12 young men in our CHESS program. A few days later, the same mom contacted us and asked if they could drop off some donations. Of course, we set up a time, masked up, and met them out in front of our shelter. Standing next to their car were three generations in this compassionate family ready to help carry in an entire carload full of all the supplies listed on our “Needs Shopping List.” It was like Christmas in March.
Additionally, so many people have stepped up their monthly donations to help us respond to the needs of so many who have lost jobs or whose wages decreased dramatically. Several people have donated their entire stimulus check to HIS-OC. One donor wrote in the note that accompanied her donation, “This donation is covered by the stimulus check. I know that others need this more than I do, so I’m paying it forward.” ~Frances
Every day we are touched by the compassion we see in our community of supporters. The instances listed in this email are just a few of the many we are grateful to share. You’ve helped us help so many people in the last year. We hope these examples illuminate that even in the worst of times, humanity grows to overpower the worst of times.