In today’s world of political conflict, a raging pandemic, social unrest, and struggling families, I think we can all agree that 2020 was an extraordinary year, unlike anything we have seen in modern times.
Helps Outreach had a most unusual year as well and we would like to share a few highlights with you and extend our thanks to those that made such a huge difference.
- As the pandemic hit, services were restricted to the food pantry only and the processes to support that changed as we adapted to the CDC guidelines. We went from just picking up pre-made food bags in the back of the building to listing all the things you needed and waiting in the car while they were pulled from the shelf by the volunteers, to finally being able to pick out what you need inside the food panty again. Many thanks to the volunteers who felt able to be out in the public despite the quickly spreading virus and the shutdown of everything but essential services.
- We were able to get our old space back from the landlord so we didn’t have to move to a new location after all. However, the space had already been reconfigured for new tenets that never came so we remodeled and expanded the useable space over the summer. This work was done by a volunteer crew of carpenters and workers from First Baptist Church of Naples and we thank them for their superb work and their generous gift of time. Because of their accomplishments, on September 1st, we reopened and were pleased to be able to once again offer shopping for clothes, household items etc in addition to the food pantry. Our chapel was renovated as well and it feels like a very safe and comfortable place to reflect and pray.
- With Covid in full force, local churches found new ways of conducting food drives that are so vital to keeping the shelves of our food pantry stocked. We are very thankful for their creative abilities and the generosity of the congregation, even as they themselves were struggling.
- We were very fortunate to receive a used car as a donation and in December, a young family of 3 was blessed with a 2004 Mazda van, A donated car is a very rare occurrence at Helps Outreach and we were once again shown that God is still working miracles.
As 2021 progresses and the virus continues to dominate society, fundamentally changing nearly everything about the way live and work, it’s easy to get frustrated and depressed. However, we are encouraged by the individual acts of kindness we see at Helps Outreach and the genuine desire to do something positive that helps the bigger cause.
We leave you with these parting words and actions …..
Smile for 5 seconds, take 3 deep breaths, and then find beauty in something simple around you. Remember this…. The struggle you are in today, is developing the strength you need for tomorrow!