ARCHIVED BLOG POSTS: YEARS 2017-2019

VOLUNTEERING / Community

These are archived blog posts, in simple text form, from 2017 through 2019. Content, even if older, can be useful to us and I welcome you to peruse at your reading pleasure. Where needed, minor revisions have been made. Resources are included as they first appeared. If you would like to comment on or discuss any archived post, please contact me.

November 29, 2019

OLD AND NEW TRADITIONS: SEASON OF GRATITUDE

Elle Mott Blog

What is Thanksgiving Season for you? This Thanksgiving found me continuing my tradition to help at a homeless shelter. It also gave me a new tradition; a time to be with family for our first holiday dinner together in 29 years. Yes, my life is vastly different in a (very) good way than before I set roots here in my community. And keeps getting better. For me, it is a time of gratitude, in traditions old and new.

(Old Traditions)

Thanksgiving 2019 at Tender Mercies.

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, and same as the last few Thanksgivings, I joined friends to serve dinner to the residents of Tender Mercies in Cincinnati. Tender Mercies is a supportive and transitional housing environment in our Over-The-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, not far from my Northern Kentucky home. We served dinner to not only the residents, but also others who came in for a warm and friendly dinner. In all, we served, oh in a rough guess, about 100 people.  

This home is but one of several shelters in our greater area. Many shelters have certain strengths to reach and help persons with specific needs. This particular place states their mission as:
Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.”

These residents, each in their own way thanked us for their dinner. And once dinner was served, I stepped outside to smoke, where a resident joined me for a few minutes in a shared moment of what life is like for each of us.

Though these folks were grateful, I thanked them for:
—inviting us into their home
—for letting me give back to my community
—and for a spirit of heart-felt connection.

(New Traditions)

*Spoiler Alert

If you haven’t read my memoir yet, but plan to, then this here is an update or an added chapter to the “end of the story.”  I suppose our story never truly ends. There is always room for growth, for new understanding, for relationships to begin or be renewed.

I volunteer at Tender Mercies periodically to help in their dinner hour. Arriving on Thanksgiving, I was greeted by residents who I’ve come to know; some, even if only by their smile, and some by picking up where we had last left off at in our chit-chat.

Earlier in my day on Thanksgiving, I shared it with my baby brother and only sibling. (I think of him as a baby brother although he is nearing 50 years old.) Knowing my brother is, well, is a new thing, different from the familiar faces in my volunteering. My brother recently left his home in Southern California to stay with me, here in Northern Kentucky. The last holiday my brother and I spent together was Thanksgiving 1990. I’ve had no holidays with relatives since that time in 1990.

I had been his long-lost sister. My debut book and published memoir is aptly titled, “Out of Chaos.” No longer living in chaos, life is bright and often new. Or, as with my brother and I, a chance to renew life. Thus far, we are not reliving what got us to this point. Rather, we are creating a new point. My story of chaos has ended. Our story of a renewed life is continuing to unfold. For this, I am grateful.

Old and New Traditions: As we move into a new day after Thanksgiving, there are ongoing needs in our communities. I am so very grateful that you are in my circle of supporters, allies, and friends. Together. we can create a loving community for everyone: family, friends and new friends, alike. What are your Thanksgiving Season Traditions and why? Is there a new Thanksgiving Tradition you hope to start?

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RESOURCES

Link to 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.

Link to Tender Mercies (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Link to “Your Family.” I have no experience in using this resource. You may find this website useful if you are looking for a lost loved one, as I was once the long-lost sister to my baby brother. It provides a bulletin board for postings and links to further resources.

Video: Tender Mercies residents share their stories. (5 min.)

Play Video
August 31, 2019

RUBBER DUCKS FIGHT HUNGER

Elle Mott Blog

Rubber duck races are used in family-fun fundraising events by organizations worldwide. This event is a fun way to get involved in the fight against hunger; a problem that inflicts our communities and is well, not fun, but downright scary to many people who find themselves in dire need. You, too, can get involved and help raise awareness in this ongoing challenge.

HOW IT WORKS 

People, like you and me, donate money to the community organization who is putting on the event. In exchange, we get a rubber duck for the race. Behind the scenes, before the event, volunteers put a bar code sticker on the bottom of each rubber duck. These bar codes tell who paid for the duck. Donated monies go to the fight against hunger. Sponsors (big corporations, usually) donate prizes for winning ducks. This is an incentive to purchase a duck. Although, I question why we need an incentive to help those in need.  

PREPARING FOR EVENT DAY

Last weekend, I was behind the scenes in this effort. Me and many other volunteers showed up at their warehouse, putting those bar code stickers on the bottom of the ducks. Cincinnati’s Rubber Duck Regatta is the largest race in the northern hemisphere.

According to Game-Fundraising, a resource for fundraising, The Freestore Foodbank is one of Ohio’s largest food banks serving 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. They distribute 27 million meals annually through a network of 450 community partners including food pantries, shelters, community centers and more.

ON EVENT DAY

These rubber ducks are then dumped into a waterway. The first rubber duck to float past the finish line wins the top prize as sponsored by an area business.

Here, in the Cincinnati area, the 25th annual Rubber Duck Regatta will happen tomorrow, Sunday, September 1, on the Ohio River off the Purple People Bridge. People will watch the race from both sides of the river, some in Kentucky and some in Ohio. Those on the Kentucky side of the river will gather at Newport on the Levee; and those on the Ohio side of the river, at Sawyer Point Park. Rubber ducks will race toward the Serpentine Wall.

AFTER THE EVENT

Rubber ducks are pulled out of the waterway or river with fishing nets. Each rubber duck has a buoy to keep it afloat. Of interest, the same rubber ducks are used worldwide. When one community is done racing the ducks, the ducks are shipped or trucked to the next location for their next race. (Wow! These rubber ducks sure swim a lot, working hard in their fundraising efforts.)

In Cincinnati and the greater area, this is the largest fundraiser for The Freestore Foodbank. Each duck purchased (at $5) and raced provides 15 meals for a child or family in need. (Wow! $5 goes a long way.) It is also a big help to offset to the cost in preparing power packs, which are given to children who are on the Free Lunch Program. I’ve had my hands in these Power Packs, having volunteered to help put these together.

We can be a real part of our community.  I hope you will consider supporting the Rubber Duck Race in your area. It is a family-fun way to think of others and to help those in need, ultimately helping the whole community.

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RESOURCES

Cincinnati area: http://rubberduckregatta.org/

To find out more about Rubber Duck events in other communities– in your local area, visit the website for Game Fundraising or call 1-800-779-RACE.

December 29, 2018

CHRISTMAS IN OUR COMMUNITY

Elle Mott Blog

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 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 (list in Resources.) 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.

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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/

October 28, 2018

VOLUNTEERING TO HELP SCHOOLCHILDREN

Elle Mott Blog

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:

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

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

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

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

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.

I hope you will join in the efforts to make our communities a better place for our children.

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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.

August 26, 2018

RUBBER DUCKS HELP THE COMMUNITY

Elle Mott Blog

Rubber duck races are used in family-fun fundraising events by organizations worldwide.

HOW IT WORKS:  People donate money to the organization by sponsoring a rubber duck. Behind the scenes, before the event, volunteers put a bar code sticker on the bottom of each rubber duck. These bar codes tell who paid for the duck to race.

ON EVENT DAY:  These rubber ducks are then dumped into a waterway. The first rubber duck to float past the finish line wins a prize. These prizes are paid for and sponsored by area businesses. Proceeds benefit a charity in need.

AFTER THE EVENT:   Rubber ducks are pulled out of the waterway or river with fishing nets. Each rubber duck has a buoy to keep it afloat.

Of interest, the same rubber ducks are used worldwide. When one community is done racing the ducks, the ducks are shipped or trucked to the next location for their next race. (Wow! These rubber ducks sure swim a lot, working hard in their fundraising efforts.)

Here, in the Cincinnati area, the 24th annual Rubber Duck Regatta will happen on Sunday, September 2 on the Ohio River off the Purple People Bridge. People will watch the race from both Kentucky and Ohio. Those on the Kentucky side of the river will gather at Newport on the Levee; and those on the Ohio side of the river, at Sawyer Point Park. Rubber ducks will race toward the Serpentine Wall.

Each year, twenty-four years strong, The Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati has sponsored this event. It is their largest fundraiser, raising money for children at risk of hunger. Every duck purchased (at $5) provides 15 meals for a child or family in need. (Wow! $5 goes a long way.) Partnering with area grocery stores, farmers, and others, The Freestore Foodbank has resources to stretch their budget.

PREPARING FOR EVENT DAY:  Yesterday, Saturday, I was behind the scenes in this effort. Me and many other volunteers showed up at their warehouse, putting those bar code stickers on the bottom of the ducks. Sadly, we’d sometimes come across a duck that just can’t make another race—their head is torn or the buoy in their bottom is no longer any good. These went into a box labeled, “Dead Ducks” (how sad).

In the morning shift, volunteers got 2,500 rubber ducks ready to race. In my afternoon shift, we did another 3,900. More volunteer shifts are available. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 rubber ducks will race next weekend!

Yesterday, I learned that this fundraiser is a huge help to the Freestore Foodbank when it comes to providing Power Pack Lunches for school kids throughout the year. 

These power packs are given to those children who are on the Free Lunch Program.  I’ve had my hands in these Power Packs, having volunteered to help put these together. Link here for that post.

Cincinnati’s Rubber Duck Regatta is the largest race in America, yet by far, not the only race which is impactful in the community. With hundreds of races held internationally, here are a few recent past rubber duck races:

The Incredible Duck Race in Tampa, Florida was on August 16, raising funds for their Kiwanis Club.

Reno, Nevada had their Duck Race and Festival on August 9 at Wingfield Park to benefit the Humane Society.

Chicago Ducky Derby was August 8, in support of Special Olympics.

In Columbus, Ohio, there was the Zoom Duck Derby on August 3, which benefited the Alpha Group in financial support for services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

And yesterday, August 25 was the Duck Race in East Peoria, Illinois. Proceeds from their event benefited The Center for Prevention of Abuse.

Szentendre, Hungary also had their charity event yesterday, August 25. (Pictured at right.)

Of the many-many upcoming races, these here are but a few:

The Southern Illinois Ducky Derby Dash to help Special Olympics is September 2. It will be at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.

On October 13 at the Bridgeport Park in Santa Clarita, California, their Rubber Ducky Festival will raise funding for under insured persons needing healthcare.

And the Incredible Duck Splash happens November 3 in Glendale, California, in support of their Kiwanis Club.

We can be a real part of our community.  I hope you will consider supporting the Rubber Duck Race in your area. It is a family-fun way to think of others and to help those in need, ultimately helping the whole community.

Please share about the Rubber Duck event in your community.

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RESOURCES

Cincinnati area: http://rubberduckregatta.org/

To find out more about Rubber Duck events in other communities– in your local area, visit the website for Game Fundraising or call 1-800-779-RACE.

August 20, 2018

HELPING IN THE COMMUNITY

Elle Mott Blog

Freestore Foodbank, located in downtown Cincinnati gave an urgent shout-out last Friday for volunteer help, come Saturday morning. They were low in their count of registered volunteers. While I could have felt my Saturday was already filled up, I figured where there’s a will, there’s a way. I split a shift with someone else.

Following an early morning visit with a friend, I then joined my local writers group. Before doing my weekly shopping on my drive home, I stopped by to offer a helping hand with this food bank.

Helping is my way of showing gratitude. As my recently published memoir shows, I was once on the receiving end—and I’ve also been on the taking end, not proud of my choices when a young woman. Today, my living amends for yesteryear are found in my volunteerism.

I’m so glad I showed up to help—it gave me connection to those in need; a heart-felt connection. My job was to be with folks as they left the food bank. Often I helped load their food into their car. Sometimes it was to help them gather their sacks to carry in their walk home.

Chatting, it was easy for me to relate to what they were going through. One woman— (paraphrasing, here)—tried apologizing to me for her neediness and forgetfulness—“Diapers, oh I need diapers, too.” I let her know there was no need to explain her forgetfulness—I’ve been there before, on the edge, wondering if I’d survive—our mental and emotional cognition is so broken down when leaning on others. “I understand.”

According to the Freestore’s website, this food bank serves up to 300 families daily and more than 88,000 individuals annually.

From what I saw, these numbers are a gross understatement. Only so many people could shop at one time. This left a long line of people waiting their turn. The line never grew short. People in need kept showing up.

The Freestore Foodbank operates under Feeding America, a national association of affiliated food banks. Feeding America is the largest hunger relief organization, connecting community food pantries in every state in America.

While my reasons for being a part of my community is my way of giving back for what I have received, other reasons are abundant when it comes to volunteering. Some people volunteer to fill their free hours, some for something worthy to do during retirement, and for some, it is to show their concern for those less well-off. No matter our reasons, it is our opportunity to come together to make our community a better place for everyone.   

To join the volunteering efforts, you can find out who to contact in your local area and how by visiting the Feeding America website (listed in Resources, below.) On this page is a search bar for your zip code.

We can make a difference!

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RESOURCES

Link to Freestore Foodbank.

Feeding America. Find your local calling to volunteer by linking here.

May 27, 2018

SHOPPING WITH THOSE IN NEED

Elle Mott Blog

Saturday, I helped volunteer at the Freestore Foodbank in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati. I’ve volunteered many times with Freestore Foodbank at their distribution warehouse. Yesterday’s experience put me face to face with those in need.

Early in  my volunteer shift, I worked alongside other volunteers to stock pantry shelves. This foodbank is a choice pantry, which allows people to choose items from the selection available, much like a regular grocery store. From canned goods, hundreds of peanut butter jars, fresh cabbage, onions and other vegetables, as well as frozen meats, we filled the food room up.

As soon as the doors opened, one of the first ladies to come in was using a walker to get around. She couldn’t push a shopping cart, too. I went shopping with her.

This lady with a walker latched on to me and right away, I felt like her friend. We walked together down each aisle together. I helped her gather her choice items and pushed her cart for her.

Each customer to the food room is given anywhere from one to four large paper sacks to fill up with as much food as they can, provided it doesn’t go over a certain weight limit. Produce are freebies, not needing to take up room in their sacks. Family size determines how many sacks of food they can take home with them.

As the volunteering day continued to unfold, I helped keep shelves stocked, helped customers as needed, and did a few maintenance tasks like unfolding paper sacks to hand out.

Chatting with other volunteers, I heard several reasons they showed up to help. “I’m retired, this gives me something worthy to do” and “My son and I came together. I want him to learn the value of helping others.” Me, my reason: “I was once on the receiving end, much like these folks we’re helping. Today, I’m on the giving end.”

This shopping experience is a helping hand to those in need in our community. Giving them food to stock their kitchen gives them one less thing to worry about when it comes to day-to-day financial struggles.

According to the Freestore’s website, this Food Room serves up to 300 families daily and more than 88,000 individuals annually.

From what I saw in the few hours I helped, these numbers are a gross understatement. Only so many people could shop at one time. This left a long line of people waiting their turn. The line never grew short. People in need kept showing up.

The Freestore Foodbank is operated under Feeding America, a national association of affiliated food banks. Feeding America is the largest hunger relief organization, connecting community food pantries in every state in America.

To join the volunteering efforts, you can find out who to contact in your local area and how by visiting the Feeding America website. On this page is a search bar for your zip code.

We can make a difference!

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RESOURCES

Link to Freestore Foodbank.

Find your local calling to volunteer through feedingamerica.org.

April 1, 2018

HOME

Elle Mott Blog

Ahead are the front doors of The Esther Marie Hatton Center and Shelterhouse for Women. Rain is in the air on this overcast day. Two women are sitting at a table, talking, in the courtyard I pass by. They look up and smile. I smile back. Inside, more women are congregating. Some are in the computer room, which has see-through glass walls. Some are waiting for dinner, more than an hour away. This place is their home.

The place sparkles with cleanliness. After checking in with staff, I join my friends in the kitchen. Savory spaghetti sauce is simmering on the stove top. Two of my friends have their hands in a big bowl of hamburger meat mixed with onions and stuff. I wash my hands then dig in to help make meatballs.

DINNER AND MORE

Come dinner time, women residents line up at our kitchen counter, eager for their home-cooked meal. We made so much spaghetti that there was enough for seconds for everyone. These women, each in their own way thanked us with words of heart-felt gratitude.

I’m thankful that today I have a home and I know I can eat when I want to eat. I’m thankful they invited me into their home, letting me help them. You see, I haven’t always had what I have today.

A fact sheet on the website for Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition,  says nearly 6000 women in my community are homeless.

This shelterhouse encourages and empowers those without resources to move from homelessness and destitution to shelter and stability.

If only I had this place to come to when I was down on my luck. But, I wasn’t in Cincinnati then. I was out west and in a town that only helped men.

I survived my hard luck times by putting one foot in front of the other (literally, ending up here). Any resources I could get back then were invaluable. As my friends and I joined these women, as part of the Feed the Need Program, it gave me a means to give back.

More than just meals, this place does so much more. On an individual basis to sixty women, it offers a social support system and connection to community services. And housing assistance and aftercare services. Medical care, too are part of the services, provided by a community area clinic (Deaconess Health Check Clinic) and other supporting health professionals.

HOW TO HELP

Nationwide, there are no less than 4000 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 you will be taken to a page which lists not only places in need, but also the contact details.

HOME

The sun is out. It’s the morning after helping out at The Esther Marie Hatton Center and Shelterhouse for Women. Spring is finally here. My drapes are open. Birds are feeding in the bird-feeders right outside a window on my bright yellow doll-house.

My pet finches chatter back when the outside birds cackle. We had scrambled eggs for breakfast—I spoil my finches—they love their egg casserole with a hint of honey and crumbled eggshells. Across the street is a lake. Ducks squawk, also happy its finally spring-time. What does home mean to you?  -Elle-

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February 3, 2018

HELPING SENIOR CITIZENS

Elle Mott Blog

Recently, I helped put together Senior Boxes, working at the warehouse for the Freestore Foodbank, here in Cincinnati. We filled several hundred boxes with essential food items. These boxes will be given to the elderly in our community.

Retirement, loss of a spouse, and increasing health care expenses can make a senior citizen vulnerable to financial struggles. These Senior Boxes help ease their difficulties by ensuring they have food to make their meals.

There is an abundance of ways we can help the older folks in our communities. Here are a few ways:

Visit someone who resides in an assisted living facility or a retirement home.

Bring along a board game or cards, a book to share, a home-baked treat, or a care package.

Or, if someone you know is elderly and lives in their own home, give them a call to see if you can stop by for a visit. Offer to fix little things around the home. If it’s winter time, shovel snow from their driveway.

In our busy schedules, even a quick hello can brighten their day.

Help those who can no longer drive. Take them to their appointments and help them run errands. You can even bring your briefcase or laptop and then wait for them in the lobby while they see their doctor. You can also bring them along as you run your own errands, so they can get out of the house and visit with you at the same time.

Rich life experiences determine our character, values, and sense of peace. Imagine the many cherished stories, lessons and experiences our elders can give us.

We can make a difference in their lives. Sharing is quality time together.

If you’re like me, without a parent or grandparent of your own who needs some extra caring for, there are plenty of seniors out there who could use some company! Several organizations help match volunteers to senior citizens. How about you? Has your life been touched by helping a senior citizen in your community?

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RESOURCES

If in the greater Cincinnati area, you can volunteer as I did, by reaching out to the Freestore Food Bank. Another great place to get involved is through the AARP Foundation, found in many cities.

November 24, 2017

GRATITUDE

Elle Mott Blog

Turkey dinners, cranberries, candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and family gatherings—these are all commonly associated with most Americans in a celebration of giving thanks—Thanksgiving Day! 

The pilgrims could never have imagined that America would become the global superpower it is today. Our country is on the forefront of economic prosperity, medical science, technology, food production, sanitation, architecture and space exploration. We have freedoms unheard of in some other countries and we fight to keep and strengthen our freedoms. 

The income and standard of living for most Americans is relatively high when compared to other industrialized nations. But, this is a blanketed statement which 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.​​​ 

For me, Thanksgiving is a time to not only be thankful for the life I’ve been given to build upon, but also to think of others who are less fortunate. I joined friends to serve dinner to the residents at Tender Mercies in Cincinnati. These folks lent 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.

What is Tender Mercies?

Tender Mercies is a supportive and transitional housing environment, located in Over-the-Rhine on 12thStreet (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.” 

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RESOURCES

Ongoing Opportunities to Give:

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

If you are in other parts of America and would like to find ways you can give to others, here is but one source to point you in the right direction: the website for Volunteer Match.

October 29, 2017

COMMUNITY HUNGER

Elle Mott Blog

Saturday was another day of volunteering. I met with others also concerned with issues of hunger in our community. I chatted with another volunteer, saying, “I used to be on the receiving end; now I’m on the giving end”

Assembly line style, with good spirits, we bellied up to a conveyor belt and boxed up gift packages of food to later be handed out to elderly folks. We filled several pallets. Then, we switched gears to make Power Packs for school children.

I worked alongside a young guy whose mom worked across from me. His name is Eli and a sixth-grader. Helping his mom helped him to see that some kids could go hungry if it wasn’t for his help. He doesn’t have to worry about hunger but understands some kids do.

Essentially, these Power Packs are “sack lunches,” each with plenty of stuff to keep a kid eating from when they leave school on Friday until they return on Monday.

Kids who qualify for free or reduced lunches get these lunches only on school days, so these packs keep them going over the weekend. These Power Packs are distributed to schools. Our warehouse serves 105 sites across the greater metropolitan area of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.—

We can make a difference! 

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RESOURCES

Contact Feed America or any soup kitchen, food bank or shelter local to you to find out what they need and how you can help out. We can make a difference!

To find out who to contact in your local area and how, visit the Feeding America website. On this page is a search bar for your zip code.

Another option is to sign up to Volunteer in your local area. The direct link to their Website is:  feedingamerica.org.

September 24, 2017

VOLUNTEERING AT FREESTORE FOODBANK

Elle Mott Blog

Saturday afternoon, I joined others in a big (huge!) warehouse for the Freestore Foodbank, in Cincinnati.

We made “Power Packs” for school children.

Here’s what I learned:

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

(So,) donations of food items come in – from grocery stores, local partnerships, and community members. 

Volunteers (like me) unload the pallets of donated food and pack sacks. (“Power Packs”). 

These Power Packs are distributed to schools. Our warehouse serves 105 sites across the greater metropolitan area of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. 

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. You see, our kids who qualify for free or reduced lunches get those lunches only on school days, so these packs keep them going over the weekend.

(excerpted quote) “Those children can come to class and learn instead of focusing on their empty bellies….” (unquote). –Heidi Becker, Coordinator for the Power Pack Program with Freestore Foodbank, as printed in their newsletter.

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

Together, we can fight hunger. It is a community thing.

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RESOURCES

Contact Feed America or any soup kitchen, food bank or shelter local to you to find out what they need and how you can help out. We can make a difference!

To find out who to contact in your local area and how, visit the Feeding America website. On this page is a search bar for your zip code.

Another option is to sign up to Volunteer in your local area. The direct link to their Website is:  feedingamerica.org.