Creativity and Connection

Today’s post is about our creative potential, in that I share an experience without my author-hat to encourage you to let go and get creative. And then, donning my author-hat, I hope to meet you in person at soon-upcoming events.

Creativity and Connection

Google searching the meaning of creativity resulted in this: the act of turning imaginative ideas into reality. [And] Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions.

I believe that in each of us, we have this ability; an ability through our own creative hobbies to impress upon others the need for positive change in our communities, thereby encouraging others to act with us in making our world a better place for everyone. It’s a sense of connection; a sense of community.

The dictionary definition of hobby is: “A pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” (Merriam-Webster).

The word hobby evokes an image of something you love to do, something you ache for and something you never seem to have quite enough time for. These creative hobbies could be most anything: singing, playing an instrument, sewing, knitting, woodworking, painting, drawing, or as in my case, writing.

When expressing creativity through hobbies, does this allow for more freedom, and a sense of free-flow relaxation and fun? –While the rest of us—those of us who perform music for money or audiences, or those of us who have published works—are we tied to commitment or promises? If there is a divide, there needn’t be. Rather, a goal could be to mesh our different venues and reasons for creativity.

Without My “Author-Hat”

Recently, I let go of my “author hat” and reveled in the freedom, relaxation, and fun of simple pure creation. It was with a professional singer who also took off her artist hat. In an online hang-out, several of us spent the evening in collaboration to write a song.

To start our jam/music/writing session, we “went around the room” sharing a few words of how we felt or what we were experiencing in our personal lives. This led to a list of words which got us started and led us to decide what the song would be about.

Meanwhile, our singer-friend strummed her guitar while we created the verses, lyrics, chords and melody. Sharing in part, below is from our created verses and lyrics which may give you an idea of the message we expressed through our creativity:

Music by Shelley Segal.

Stand straight,
Sit still,
Mouth shut,
Do my will,
So many voices say they know what’s best for me
Pressures reeling,
Watch me break through this ceiling
I am who I am,
I only have this time,
I have to make it mine,
And I don’t need your plans, Because I am who I am….

With My “Author-Hat”

My “author hat” will be going back on soon, as I look forward to two soon-upcoming commitments: Tongue & Groove Cincinnati, a Literary Salon and V-Day Hometown Monologues.

Tongue & Groove Cincinnati, a Literary Salon
Sunday, January 27, 2019
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. is arrival time and light snacks
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. is music and readings.
At the Clifton House B&B, 500 Terrace Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio
Limited Seating. Cost: $20 at the door.
Reserve your seat by email: tconner425@gmail.com

I’m open to ideas as to what excerpt from my memoir to read. If you plan to go and have a special request, let me know this week, and I will consider it. Also, I will have books for sale, cash price of $15.00 each.

-and-

V-Day Hometown Monologues
Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Women Writing for (a) Change
In Silverton at 6906 Plainfield Road, Cincinnati, Ohio

Advance tickets required, available online, in person, and by mail. Proceeds will benefit victims of domestic abuse. V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women.
Event tickets available from Women Writing for (a) Change.

I won’t have any books for sale at this event, but if you bring your book, I will be happy to sign it. My monologue for this show comes from Chapter 3 in my memoir, Out of Chaos. Slightly reworded, it’s titled, “Alone in the Dark without my Candy.”

Events tab is where you will find event details as available. To keep tabs on me, be sure to pop in from time to time to see any updates. I hope to visit with you.

Resources and credits for this post

Music by Shelley Segal, found on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ShelleySegal
V-Day: A global organization dedicated through activism to end violence. https://www.vday.org/homepage.html
Out of Chaos: A Memoir: Read more about my debut book (link here).

Please share about your creativity; I’d like to know more– your comments could inspire others.

If you like what I post, please subscribe to get notified of new blog posts, at a few times monthly.

-Elle-

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From 2018 to 2019: Inspired by memoir, focused on life today.

Happy New Year to my reading community. My journey through this past year has been one of hard work, and when daunting, you lifted me up with your encouragement.
Reading my newsletters, sharing in my journey through commenting on blog posts, and meeting up with me in person has been invaluable. At the end of this post, you’ll find a video highlighting this past year with you. And, please know that while I keep you in the know of new blog posts during 2019, my monthly newsletters are so-last-year.

The last month of 2018 was engaging. I attended a vigil in honor of National Homeless Persons Memorial Day. Drawn from personal experience, the homelessness plight is one I care passionately about and share about through my creative writing. On the weekend before Christmas, I participated in an author event. On Christmas Day, I shared my time with women at a shelter.

Recent Author Appearance

A Holiday Soiree took place at The Westin, Cincinnati on Saturday, December 22. It was a meet and greet event with local authors sharing their books.
At any time, you can see where I will be next by visiting my Author Appearances and Events Page, found under the tab, Media and Contact.

Recent Blog Posts

Christmas in the Community
Like me, many women at [The Esther Marie Hatton Center and Shelterhouse for Women] are also without the traditional family holiday gathering. This shelter is their refuge. It is a place with resources to regain strength, purpose, empowerment, and stability.
Christmas has passed but the needs of these women and others remain.


Homeless People are Dying Every Day: A Candlelight Vigil and an Excerpt from my Memoir.
Cities across America observe the annual National Homeless Persons Memorial Day on the day which has the shortest daylight hours. This year it was Friday, December 22. It is in memory of those who have died as a consequence of homelessness.

Many people in our communities are in need, whether struggling through homelessness or another difficulty. I hope you find my ideas and resources helpful as I blog about my journey to make our communities safe and inviting for everyone. Each of us may be limited in what we can do, but coming together in these opportunities, we, as a community make a difference.

From 2018 into 2019

As Year 2019 approaches, I looked back in our sharing through this blog. In January 2018, I was working diligently with my publishing house and shared with you my work-in-progress. Revisions on my end and editing on their end where taking off.

Excerpt from Persistence — Power — Positive Attitude…. (New Year’s WIP Update), posted January 13, 2018.

My publisher brought forth a few questions, “Why?” or “Didn’t this happen because of this?” There, I need to clue the reader in. This can be challenging. As a true story, the “whys and “why nots” can seem illogical. My homework is to show how chaos evolved into a new way of thinking or a new set of actions.

end of excerpt

I persisted to get my memoir ready for your hands.
Out of Chaos: A Memoir published in August 2018. This milestone has been momentous for me and I hope a life changer for others, too. Life is good today. Thank you for 2018. Together, we can make 2019 momentous and good.

https://youtu.be/Z54tFccRavI

Video from me to you: Sharing 2018 by Elle Mott. https://youtu.be/Z54tFccRavI

If you like what I post, please subscribe to get notified of new blog posts, at a few times monthly.

-Elle-

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Christmas in the Community

When a child, I marveled at the lights and ornaments on the grand Christmas tree in the family living room. Fresh pine needles emitted sweetness; wrapped gifts overflowed from under its lower branches. What more could Santa bring? All that remain from my childhood are memories. For those who have read or are reading my memoir, “Out of Chaos,” you might remember that I have no childhood pictures.

This season, on Christmas morning, as friends gathered with their families, I stayed home; just me and my pet birds.

Christmas afternoon then dawned as I stepped outside onto my house’s front porch. Morning frost had since melted, but a chill remained. I pulled my hat over my ears and made my way to my garage. Then I drove to the The Esther Marie Hatton Center and Shelterhouse for Women, where I met up with friends in the shelter’s kitchen.

Their dinner hour is shared with community members who prepare and serve a warm meal for them, cafeteria style in a large dining room. Christmas dinner was no exception. And I’m happy my friends and I could be with them this Christmas.

Like me, many women at this shelter are also without the traditional family holiday gathering. This shelter is their refuge. It is a place with resources to regain strength, purpose, empowerment, and stability.

They lined up at our kitchen counter, accepting a full dinner plate from us. Their faces and kind remarks showed me their gratitude and their hope for better times in the new year. A tall Christmas tree stood at the far end of the room, decorated and lit. Rather than gifts hugging the tree’s lower branches, it was women hugging each other, in friendship and merriment. Although life is tough for these women, the exchange of a caring spirit brightens the season.

Christmas has passed but the needs of these women and others remain.

I hope you will consider sharing your hope and strength with others whenever and wherever you can. Aside from the below mentioned resources, consider calling the shelters in your area to ask how best to be of service. Nationwide, there are no less than 5000 shelters. We have a lot of homeless people in America. Too many!

A great resource for discovering where in your community could use a helping hand is the website for Homeless Shelter Directory. From its front page, click on the map, picking out your state. From there, it links to a page which lists not only places in need, but also the contact details.

Resources:

Homeless Shelter Directory, a nation-wide resource.
https://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/

The Esther Marie Hatton Center and Shelterhouse for Women, Cincinnati.
http://www.shelterhousecincy.org/

Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition.
https://cincihomeless.org/

Please share in the comments of your thoughts on the theme of bringing community and holidays together.

If you like what I post, please subscribe to get notified of new blog posts, at a few times monthly.

-Elle-

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Homeless People are Dying Every Day: A Candlelight Vigil and an Excerpt from my Memoir.

Cities across America observe the annual National Homeless Persons Memorial Day on the day which has the shortest daylight hours. This year it was Friday, December 22. It is in memory of those who have died as a consequence of homelessness.

Led by The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, we met at Washington Park in Cincinnati on this evening for a candlelight vigil and remembrance, naming each person lost. No less than 109 Cincinnatians experiencing homelessness died during 2018.

Over 3 million people are without shelter each night, here in America. These statistics –numbers behind real people— are alarming. It is also unnecessary. For comparison sake, that is a close approximation to how many people live in Los Angeles. Picture that many people homeless!

Lack of affordable housing is one obstacle which pushes people to live on the streets. In Cincinnati, nearly 10,000 people lack a stable, permanent residence. These are individuals and families with children. These are hard-working adults who either go to work each day, yet don’t earn more than minimum wage, keeping them from affording housing. These are also hard-working adults who can work yet are currently unemployed; without money to afford housing.  

Here in Cincinnati, advocates are joining forces through grassroots efforts, lobbying, and educating the public, all with the ultimate goal to eradicate homelessness. Housing should be available and affordable to everyone.

Cincinnati is not alone in these problems and efforts to make a viable change. A YouTube channel, Invisible People, has an ongoing vlog which shows the personal stories of people all across America; people who either go to work or who are looking for work and who do not have a place to call home. They are living out of their cars, in tents on the streets, or in shelters one night at a time when available.

In my job at the public library in downtown Cincinnati, it seems at times that we are overrun with homeless persons who hang out in our lobbies. Often, I catch myself wondering why they don’t use our library’s resources to pull themselves up. Then, I stop myself from judging. Some are not only homeless but also mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse and addiction.

Residential treatment centers for those caught up in the unending cycle of homelessness and substance abuse are limited in their availability. And many treatment places are a for-profit business, with an expense which can bar people from seeking help. Those who are both homeless and mentally ill can easily be unaware of their risks on the streets. They too could be helped; even if moved into an assisted care home facility.

And I see that a few people do use our library computers and help from the tech center. Librarians make themselves available to help people learn how to use email, how to write a resume, how to complete an online job application, and so much more. With the influx of people experiencing homelessness who turn to our library for shelter during the daytime, it is my daily reminder of why I am grateful today and that it is up to me to build upon my life.


An excerpt from Chapter 22 of my memoir, “Out of Chaos”….

I moved into a boarding house in downtown [Klamath Falls] at a flat rate of $350 a month, with no move-in deposits and that month prorated. For a little more than one hundred dollars, I was in my seven-by-ten room to figure out my next move. It came furnished with a twin bed, the headboard at one wall and the foot of the bed butted up to my jimmy-rigged pantry shelf. The shared bathroom was right next door to me, so the toilet wasn’t far, but the shower-head sucked so I bathed in another floor’s bathroom.

The location was perfect. I could walk to the State Career Cen­ter or the public library in under ten minutes. A laundromat and my morning AA meeting were a little farther away, but doable. Fred Meyer’s was the nearest grocery store, which wasn’t so close. I became a regu­lar at the library where I checked out DVDs [for my seven-inch portable DVD player] so I could take a break from my Lost reruns.

Express [temporary employment services] finally called me one afternoon at 2:00. “Can you be on assignment at five?”

It was for two nights, dinner shifts, washing dishes at the hospital.

Mid-shift on the second night, the kitchen supervisor asked me to join him in his office. Even his office seemed bigger than my apartment. He grabbed a dish towel and wiped away a bead of sweat from his forehead where dreadlocks fell forward. His dark brown eyes captured my attention. He said, “Thank you for coming in on such short notice. Our regular guy is out sick, and we can’t go with­out a dishwasher.”

I said, “You’re welcome. I’m glad Express called me to help you.”

He tossed the dish cloth in a dirty rags bin. “Most people could care less about washing dishes.”

“It feels good to work,” I said.

“I see that,” he said as he sat down on his desk. “You’re handling those pots and pans without any complaining.”

“I’ve been looking everywhere for work. I’ve got a college de­gree, but I can’t even get a fast food place to hire me,” I said.

“Yeah, in this town, sometimes it’s a matter of knowing the right person. If you didn’t go to school here or aren’t in someone’s hood, then people don’t know you,” he said.

“Working tonight is a nice change from looking for work,” I said.

“Check in at our personnel office. I haven’t heard of any open­ings at all, but if there is something, they’ve got my word that you’re a good worker.”

“Thank you. I was in here last week, and a month ago. You all have a hiring freeze.”

He grabbed a binder and a pen and got up off his desk. As he walked me out of his office, he added, “Yeah, that’s the recession for you. Keep up the good work. I’ve got a meeting to catch.”

–end of excerpt–



Although it felt good to work those two nights, I still didn’t have a real job and no earthly idea how I was to come up with $350 for the following month’s rent. I was at risk for becoming homeless again.

For us as a community to connect with people who are at risk for, or are experiencing homelessness, our awareness of this issue and our preventive action will help in the fight to eradicate homelessness.

A few ways to make a difference:

*Contact nonprofit organizations in the community which raise awareness of homelessness. Many have events and fundraisers.

*Volunteer where you can, from soup kitchens to shelters.

*Donate. Community organizations which help the homeless most often accept monetary gifts, food, clothing, and hygiene items.

Being homeless is not only an uncomfortable situation, it is also risky. Many people die from lack of shelter. Here is a video recap of the candlelight vigil in observance of National Homeless Persons Memorial Day, 2018.

It was not the first year that my friend, Tommy and I participated. For those of you who have my book, “Out of Chaos: A Memoir,” this is the same Tommy from page 476; my acknowledgements.

Link here for my blog post, Homeless People are Dying Every Day — Remembering Them and Advocating for Change. (December 27, 2017).

Statistics from above were retrieved from https://cincihomeless.org/about/education/fact-sheet/

Resources:
Invisible People: a vlog documenting the lives of homeless persons across America.
Affordable Housing Advocates (Cincinnati)
The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless

Please share in the comments how you will make a difference today. Together we can strive to eradicate homelessness.

If you like what I post, please join my reading community by subscribing to get blog post updates. Link here.

-Elle-


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Making a Difference through Gratitude

Amid the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping specials on our minds, the Thanksgiving holiday is also a time to stop, pause, and sit down to more-than-we-can-eat with family and friends.

It is a time to reconnect with our loved ones, to recognize all the good in our lives, to cherish memories at hand, and well, to feel gratitude.

More so, we can show our thankfulness through our generosity and giving heart.

Here in America, income and the standard of living for most Americans is relatively high when compared to other industrialized nations.

Hence, we can revel in the commercialization by buying that thousand-dollar TV for only a few hundred dollars when on sale the day after Thanksgiving. Yet, having money to spend freely is a blanketed statement. It overlooks countless people in our American communities.

Many people barely scratch the surface to afford the traditional family gathering with turkey and trimmings. Some don’t even have family. ​

This stark realization is our call to action to make our community a better place for everyone. While we can’t buy TVs for everyone, we can do what matters most. We can share our giving spirit with others.

In the downtown area of the big city I live close to, we have a hot spot of homeless shelters, transitional housing places, and homeless encampments. Tender Mercies is one such place.

What is Tender Mercies:

Tender Mercies is a supportive and transitional housing environment, located in Over-the-Rhine on West 12th Street (Cincinnati).

Their stated mission is: ”Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.”

This season, on Thanksgiving Day, several friends and I visited Tender Mercies and served a homemade dinner to these folks. Residents of Tender Mercies gave me a heart-felt connection and while they thanked us for their dinner,

  • I thank them for inviting us into their home,
  • I thank them for letting me meet them and
  • to get to know them a little better (some I’ve seen in passing when on my job at the public library),
  • I thank them for letting me give back to my community.

 

Making a Difference in our Communities helps others:

  • As you ponder what difference you can make in your community, consider volunteering at a feeding program, soup kitchen, or the like.
  • Explore where there is a need in your neighborhood or a city near you.
  • Start one with a group of friends or a group or organization that you are a member in.

In a nation as rich and plentiful as ours, no individual or family should go hungry or be malnourished. And no one should go without the human connection of kindheartedness. Feed the hungry and feed your soul.

Making a Difference in our Communities enriches our own lives:

  • An act of unconditional love lifts the spirit, giving a boost to overall health and well-being. In turn, happier, healthier people become better members of society creating a win-win for all.
  • Volunteer work is a wonderful vehicle by which members of a community can lend a helping hand to individuals in need. It provides vital services that local city and governmental agencies cannot always render to the number of people in need.
  • Humanitarian efforts to help others, and increasing our awareness are our calls to action today— and going forward.

”Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie, author.

What are your experiences with being thankful?

Of giving to the community?

Resources:

Tender Mercies (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Homeless Shelter Directory of Helping the Needy:
If you are in other parts of America and need a resource to point you where help is needed, this website is user friendly. It opens with a map of the United States—click on your state and from there, find out where to go and who to contact.

Blog Post from Thanksgiving 2017: Gratitude

If you like what I post, please join my reading community by subscribing to get blog post updates and my newsletter, sent monthly.  Link here.

-Elle-

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Book Fairs: Here’s why to go by Elle Mott

Yesterday, local authors and readers got together to put on a book fair. It was the Local Authors Day Event in Northern Kentucky, held at the main branch of the Boone County Public Library in Burlington, Kentucky.

Big thanks goes out to Kelsey Shackelford, Community Events Liaison with this library, for her dedication and commitment.

It was not my first year to show up, yet my first year to come with a published book. Like before, this was an awesome time to connect with readers and writers, alike. Yes, I sold a few books. More-so, it was an opportunity for me to share my journey with others and to hear what they are reading or writing.

While I have given a few author presentations before, this was my first time at an actual book fair with my book. It was so meaningful to have my good friend, Lorene sit beside me.

For those who have read my book, this is the same Lorene from Chapters 24 and 25 in Out of Chaos.: A Memoir.  

If you are a writer and wondering what are the “perks” to have a table at a book fair, here are but a few:

  • To connect with others who also practice the writing craft
  • To better understand the writing industry
  • To listen; really listen to book buyers and readers

If you are a reader and wondering “why go to a book fair” here are but a few reasons:

  • To support those who are sharing their written works
  • To get a first-hand knowledge of books that otherwise could go unnoticed
  • To grab a good read, perhaps at a reduced price from the retail cost
  • To pick up gifts for birthdays and holidays
  • To get to know the author behind a book you plan to read
  • To get your book autographed (how can you do that at Walmart?)

 


I hope to see you at the next book fair in my greater community.

Until then, please share your experience in either shopping for books at such events, or as a writer sharing your book with others.


PS
This same day also saw me on Chanel’s Lit Blog in the Writer Spotlight.

Here, in interview style, I share about my writing craft and my journey.

You can read all about it by linking here:  https://www.chardypublications.com/blog-1/in-the-spotlight-today-elle-mott

If you like what I post, please join my reading community by subscribing to get blog post updates and my newsletter, sent monthly.  Link here.

-Elle-

 

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From Reflection to Action: Many ideas in how to honor Veterans

Examining our past and learning from it means seeing not only our achievements, but our failings. Observing our country’s current issues demands action from each of us, as we come together to make our society a better place for us and for future generations. Accountability to our communities involves not only creating a society which makes us proud, but also recognizing and then changing dark impulses which have marred or are currently marring our country.

Dear Veteran-Friends,

The dedication that you—our men and women fighting for our country—is indelible. Your fight on the front-lines and commitment to public service enables us to learn compassion and grow intellectually. Freedom isn’t free. Those who are willing to pay the price, the time away from their families, and the endless dangers of the battleground are our true heroes. Our hearts and minds are changed forever, and we are grateful for your service of yesterday and today and going forward.

Dear Friends, here are some ways to remember our Veterans:

REFLECTION

  • Read something a Veteran wrote about their experience.
  • Write in your journal how thankful you are for the service of Veterans.
  • Take a private moment to be proud of your country.
  • Observe a moment of silence with family and friends.
  • Take a moment to reflect on what it means to live in America.
  • Hang an American flag in your yard or at your apartment entryway.

    SAY THANKS
  • Write and send a letter to someone who’s currently serving in the military.
  • Thank a Veteran co-worker for their service.
  • Video chat with a Veteran who is servicing oversees.
  • Use Social Media to #THANKAVET!
    GIVE THANKS
  • Donate time or money or supplies to local Veterans Day drives.
  • Volunteer to help a Veteran’s service organization.
    ACTION
  • Shake a Veteran’s hand.
  • Teach a child what it means to be a Veteran.
  • Send an email to the people on your contact list that tells a Veteran’s story.
  • Attend a Veterans’ Day event.
  • Go to a Veterans’ Day parade.
    HONOR A VETERAN
  • Add their photo and your personal thank you to the DAV Thank A Vet Mosaic.
  • Make and share an interview video through the StoryCorps app.

 BE IN THE MOMENT WITH A VETERAN

  • Ask a Veteran about their time in the military, and really listen to the answer.
  • Visit a home-bound Veteran in their home.
  • Visit a homeless Veteran under a bridge.
  • Take a Veteran out to dinner.
  • Take dinner in to a Veteran.
  • Buy a homeless Veteran a cup of coffee.
  • Mark on your calendar a day each month to do one of the above listed—even though Veteran’s Day will have passed.

Please share with us how you have made a difference today in the life of a Veteran. Below are some resources for you.

If you like what I post, and haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter, please do! Link here.

Resources

DAV Thank a Vet. Here, you can add a picture to their mosaic. (Link here).

DAV Website/Home Page: https://www.dav.org/

StoryCorps App (Link here).

StoryCorps Website/Home Page:  https://storycorps.org/

Operation Gratitude. Here, you can sign up to volunteer or make a donation. https://www.operationgratitude.com/

This post is in memory of my father, who I came to know and love only after he died. Dedicated poem and more are on my Dedications Page.
(Link here.)

-Elle-

 

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Volunteering to Help Schoolchildren

More than 13 million (million!!) American children live in households with uncertain access to food which supports a healthy life.

Schoolchildren who qualify for free or reduced lunches get those lunches only on school days. On Friday afternoons, these kids are each given a Power Pack—a sack which looks like a lunch sack yet is filled to the rim with power food. These Power Packs are provided by Freestore Foodbank and dependent on volunteers to bag the power food for them.

Yesterday, Saturday, I joined other volunteers at the Freestore warehouse and together we bagged nearly 1,500 Power Packs! Fifteen hundred may sound like a lot, but in reality, it barely scratches the surface to keep Cincinnati area kids from going hungry over the weekend.

According to the Freestore Foodbank, these are the stats and how our volunteer work impacts the community:

  1. More than 13 million (million!!) American children live in households with uncertain access to food which supports a healthy life.

 

  1. Donated food items are provided by area grocery stores, local partnerships, and community members and stored at the warehouse for distribution.

 

  1. Volunteers—there were about forty of us in the ware house yesterday—we unloaded pallets of donated food and packed sacks—“Power Packs.”

 

  1. Our warehouse serves 105 sites across the greater metropolitan area of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, distributing these Power Packs to schools.

 

  1. These Power Packs are given to school children on Fridays so they can go home with power food to carry them over until the next school day, Monday.

 

Feeding America is the national association of affiliated food banks, which includes Freestore Foodbank. It is also the largest hunger relief organization, connecting community food pantries in every state of America.

Feeding America and Freestore Foodbank are dependent on volunteers. Another way to reach out with your volunteering support is to contact any soup kitchen, food bank or shelter local to you to find out what they need and how you can help.

Resources

Feeding America
Find your local food bank and who to contact for volunteering, based on your zip code.

The direct link to sign up for volunteering through Feeding America is at  feedingamerica.org.

I hope you will join in the efforts to make our communities a better place for our children. Please share in the comments about your volunteer experience. Together, we can ensure a better tomorrow—Children are our future.

If you like what I post, and haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter, please do! Link here.

-Elle-

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Dinner at a Soup Kitchen

Community means joy, laughter, and rejuvenation.
Community enables a reconnection to the world and  human spirits.

(Quote as narrated in video,
Security Dignity Community in
a Place Called Home at Tender Mercies
.)

Schools, churches, and community groups volunteer hundreds of meals and thousands of hours to the residents of Tender Mercies. It is a supportive and transitional housing environment, located in Over-the-Rhine on 12th Street, here in inner city Cincinnati.

Last Thursday, I joined friends to share dinner with these folks. A few of my friends got together ahead of time, cooking lasagna and preparing other dinner items. I left work early that day (using “vacation time”) to meet my friends in the kitchen at Tender Mercies.

We served dinner to about sixty folks. I recognized some folks who came through our dinner line, as folks who hang out at the public library where I work.

One gentleman resident, Cleo, was already a familiar and friendly face for me. On Wednesdays, I pass through “his” street corner, where he sells the Street Vibes, a bi-monthly informative newspaper about the homelessness plight in our community.

Each Wednesday, I buy a paper from him and in return he tells me a joke.

And each Wednesday, Cleo and I exchange a big friendly hug. Thursday evening, I got another hug out of him (smile).

 

 

x

 ”Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.” (Tender Mercies mission statement.)

Resources

Tender Mercies: If you are in our Cincinnati community and would like to know more; perhaps volunteer, visit Tender Mercies’ website.

Volunteer Needy: If you are in other parts of America and need a resource to point you where help is needed, this website is user friendly. It opens with a map of the United States—click on your state and from there, find out where to go and who to contact.
Link here for their directory. 

Please share in the comments your community experience. What is it like for you to share a meal with those in need?

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-Elle-

 

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Sharing is Caring: Coat Drive how-to and more….

Cold weather is on the horizon. It’s time to pull our scarves and hat out of the closet. And it’s time to think of those struggling in the moment who need a scarf or hat—or especially, a warm coat.

Autumn and winter months are a terrible struggle for many people. Low income families with growing children often need help when it comes to sending their child off to school—coats, mittens, and rain or snow boots are a must have. Yet, many parents who already struggle with increasing bills in the winter months (heating bills, for one), can only wonder how to keep their kids safe and warm.

Those experiencing homelessness also have it rough. Sure, there are overnight shelters. Yet, there are not enough shelters and some turn people away for lack of identification or other problems. And some homeless people, who perhaps out of mental illness, are unwilling to turn to these shelters for help. And many over night shelters are just that—overnight—not letting people in until after dark, and then shut their doors early next morning. Outdoor temperatures are still frigid at seven or eight in the morning.

That’s their reality.

We can lift their burdens. Getting a warm coat and other winter gear to those in need can be naturally easy.

Some ways to help are:

  • When you buy yourself a new hat or pair of gloves, grab a second one and donate. Often, stores have sales of “buy one, get one half-price” or of a like-wise bargain—perfect for helping someone.
  • When Christmas shopping (or other holiday shopping), include a coat on your shopping list; a coat for someone in need.
  • As your child(ren) grow out of their coats, donate the old.
  • Keep extra gloves and hats in your everyday bag, or an extra coat or two in your car. When out and about, if you see someone, perhaps someone homeless, who is begging for assistance, offer them one of these extras.
  • Donate to coat drives. These drives are sometimes found through employers, local stores, clubs, schools, churches and synagogues.

Years ago, when living in New Mexico, and starting when the winter months hit, a child’s red wagon was parked in the sanctuary of my church. Coats and toys were collected by putting them in this red wagon. As we congregated for worship services every Sabbath, we’d see the wagon was fuller than the week before.

 

Or, you can run a coat drive yourself. This can be as simple or as involved as you’d like.

Earlier this month, through a community organization I belong to, I helped run a coat drive; a simple one.

Starting a month before our October monthly membership meeting, I put the word out that we would collect coats. I then followed up with messages on Facebook and other online places that our members hang out in. On our meeting night, I designated a table for collections. At the meeting’s conclusion, we bagged up the coats. These will be given to a community agency for disbursement. It was a “one-night” collection and went well.

For a more involved coat drive, visit the website for One Warm Coat. It is a resourceful tool to help you plan and promote your coat drive. They even have a map to click on to find out which agencies or places in your community to donate those coats.

Together, we can make positive change in our communities. We can help those in need. I hope you will join me in the efforts to ease the burden that cold weather brings to low income families, to those experiencing homelessness, and to others who simply need a helping hand.

Resource:
One Warm Coat
https://www.onewarmcoat.org/

Please share in the comments how you plan to get involved, knowing that someone doesn’t have to face the cold season alone.

-Elle-

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