Friday, October 31, 2014


Below is a picture of Myra, a long-time CCSC volunteer who spends at least one day/week working at the Sunshine Resale Shop. Myra is open about her age – she is 91 years old – and she has more energy than people much, much younger than her.
I share this picture of Myra to make two points:

First, the Sunshine Resale Shop is a fun place to shop and volunteer. When I went today (on Halloween), several of the staff and volunteers were in full costume, contributing to a light and festive atmosphere. And among the items I saw for sale were a Louis Vuitton purse, several books that are currently on the bestseller list, and some antique furniture from an estate.

Second, age is rarely a reason to stop living a full life. Myra is certainly blessed with good health, but she has been intentional in making sure her days are busy and filled with activities. She does a lot of good in the community and would be the first to say that staying busy has kept her young.

So, if you want to visit a great shop with a cornucopia of treasures, stop by the Sunshine Resale Shop at 5413 Bellaire Blvd. And if you want to volunteer in any area of CCSC, contact Kate Gallup at We’d love to have you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Can you imagine an empty kitchen?

When my children arrive home from school, they are hungry and tired. So typically they'll eat a snack and relax a bit before doing their homework. That little break and the nourishment helps them to then concentrate on their school work.

I share this with you because we recently helped a single mom who works at a fast food restaurant, but still has trouble feeding her daughter. She walked in last week, right as we were closing, hoping to get some food before her daughter arrived home. When we told her we could help, she began crying, telling us that when her daughter gets home from school, she is hungry, but there isn't always food for her. 

It's difficult for most of us to imagine this scenario. Yet I've spoken with several donors and volunteers over the years who lived it growing up and have no trouble imagining an empty pantry. Some were constantly hungry in childhood while others struggled only during temporary family crises.

Food pantries like ours provide a safety net for many different kinds of people. It helps the working poor like this mother, and of course, it helps lots of children. But we also feed older people living on a fixed income as well as those who struggle with physical and mental disabilities. And then there are those who have undergone a one-time crisis and are faced with making choices between food, shelter or other basic needs.

As we move into the holiday season, there will be many opportunities to support our food pantries as well as other pantries. And it's so easy: you can either drop donated food off or send in a check. However you do it, you'll be helping to feed the most vulnerable in our community.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

We help people improve their lives

Our program staff compile monthly statistics and send them to me and other staff who use the data. The data tells us who we served and how we served them, along with relevant demographic information.

The numbers help us to understand our clients and identify trends. But the numbers are only part of the picture which is why hearing individual stories helps round out my understanding of CCSC's mission on the ground.

 JobNet Manager Mickey Hammond now includes a client story along with her monthly stats, so I share the following with you.

Many JobNet clients come to us discouraged, unemployed or under-employed, and not earning enough for basic living expenses. For example, "Bob" did handyman chores at his apartment to pay the rent. He was discouraged, and his transformation with us began after taking the "Art of Interviewing" workshop which gave him new job search skills. He then enrolled in the QuickBooks workshop to learn how to develop a more lucrative handyman business; JobNet then made business cards for him. Along with these resources, a volunteer coach improved his resume which ultimately secured him an interview with a security company. And the company hired him! So now he has a better-paying job along with a vision (and skills) to create his own business on the side.

There are easy ways to help JobNet's clients. List your company's job openings with us, volunteer your time in the program, or simply let us know when you see "Help Wanted" signs at your favorite local business. To connect with JobNet, email Mickey at