Friday, August 29, 2014

It's a new academic year

My children have returned to school, so our family is back to the structured, school-year routine that we hunger for in August but happily abandon in May.

I thought we had all the needed school supplies, but some additional items were added to the list, so we had to return to the store again. It was inconvenient only in making time to run the errand, not in purchasing the items.  I note that because this is one of the times of year I see a starkness between families who struggle financially and those who don't.

Buying new clothing, school supplies and paying for activity fees is easy for some of us but burdensome for others. We see many working families at our food pantries who are living on a meager income and just barely squeaking by. These August purchases set them back, which is why CCSC created the "Back To School" program in 1986.

This year we gave 6,518 needy children brand new school supplies and clothing, and below is a picture of some of the supplies. At the event, I visited with a 5th grade girl who was bursting with happiness. She told me she was excited to go home and organize the supplies and couldn't wait to meet her teacher. I thought of her on Monday, when HISD classes began, hoping her first day went well.

Thank you to the many in our community who volunteered at the event and/or sponsored a student.  And thanks to the many in our community who support the food pantries, employment programs and other areas of CCSC. Our organization is strong because of the many individuals who support it.

Happy Labor Day!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Some people make powerful impressions

I can't stop thinking about a family we helped a few weeks ago. The family is comprised of a mom with three children ranging in age from 16-22. Two of the children are in high school, and the other attends a local university. The two oldest work for their own college expenses, and the youngest just turned 16 and is now looking for work.

They live on about $1,400/month, and it was clear during the interview  process that the mother has exceptional budgeting skills. It was also clear that she has passed on her work ethic to her children.

The family came to CCSC needing food because they run out occasionally, so of course we helped and let them know how we can continue to help.

The children are impressive, but the person who has stayed in my mind has been the mother. She doesn't have much discretionary time or money, but she has intentionally passed on her values and her vision for her children's future.  That vision, I imagine, is what keeps them all moving forward in difficult circumstances.

I'm grateful to have met this mother, and I'm really grateful that CCSC had the opportunity to make a small investment in this family's life.